I have the privilege of going to a Narnia-themed homeschool prom next week.
Yes, I'm technically too old to go to prom. But since it was cancelled last year and I was supposed to be the guest of my then-high-school-senior friend, I'm going. I'm not really one for frills and makeup and all that frippery, but I'm sure I'll enjoy myself once I get there.
Without even thinking about prom, I decided that I needed to buy the DVD of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I found a good deal on the Walmart website and got a Blu-Ray version (since we somehow, at some point during the past eight years, got a Blu-Ray player. How or why I don't remember). The cool thing about Blu-Rays is that they come with lots of special features, so after watching the blooper reel, I clicked a button that said "Facts about Narnia."
The "Facts" were actually just written commentary about C.S. Lewis, the Narnia books, and World War II. We're saving the movie for tomorrow night, so Mom and I turned the movie off as soon as the Pevensie children arrived at Professor Kirk's manor. But the thing that struck me was that the "Facts" commentary had an introduction that was delivered by none other than Douglas Gresham. Who just so happens to be the stepson of C.S. Lewis.
Naturally, I Googled the man, and I found out that he had a rather tragic upbringing. His father was an actor with PTSD from the first World War, and his brother suffered from schizophrenia. Douglas's mother, Joy Davidman, had cancer. Twice. But apparently, Joy (who was a writer) and "Jack" Lewis operated on the same mental frequency. (When you're a writer and you meet someone who operates on the same mental frequency as you do, you tend to be close friends with them. Or marry them. Either way. But you certainly don't forget them.)
The simple article I read told me more about C.S. Lewis as a person than I've ever learned from his writings (with the possible exception of Surprised by Joy). And fair enough, I suppose--people have gotten a lot less private in the past few decades. I already knew that Lewis went by "Jack," and small blame to a man named Clive Staples. But apparently he also believed that cigarette ash kept moths out of the carpet and lived (at least in his later life) in a rather unkempt manner.
Another story that Douglas told in the article involved his mother's first cancer diagnosis. Even the Wikipedia article detailing Joy and Jack's relationship reads like a sad romance novel: the two were married in a small, non-church ceremony so Joy could stay in England after her Visa expired. She eventually was diagnosed with cancer and was given a small chance of living, so Jack married her in a Christian ceremony while she lay in her hospital bed. She miraculously recovered and lived four years before dying of a cancer relapse.
Apparently, Douglas (who was only fourteen when Joy was originally diagnosed with cancer) had a pretty large role to play in this. He was walking home from the hospital when he stopped by an unlocked church to pray for his mother. He then heard a voice offering to "fix this," and he took the voice up on the offer. His mother, Douglas said, went into remission two days later.
Hearing Douglas's voice on the Narnia Blu-Ray was wild. It reminded me of the time Malachy McCourt narrated "Angela's Christmas," an animated short based off a story that was either written by Malachy McCourt or his brother Frank, who wrote the stunning memoir Angela's Ashes. The short used to be on Netflix; if it's still there, it's worth a watch.
Anyway, have you ever researched something after hearing about it on TV? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and have a wonderful weekend!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.