Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anne Frank, Charles Laughton, and some personal insights this holiday season....

I thought I could get away without a visit to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day-but no such luck. Actually, it was a blessing in disguise, because I happened to have on NPR and they had a special Thanksgiving program. I don't think I have enjoyed a trip to the grocery store more than that day! I listened to a lovely passage from Anne Frank:
"I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains... My advice is : "Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!" I immediately became ashamed of myself reflecting on those moments of feeling pity for what I am dealing with in my life. I have so much compared to so many. My throat closed up in that funny way-(you know what I'm talking about!) listening to this, to hear the wisdom that was in this 13 year old girl; (my oldest daughter is almost the same age and I can't imagine her going through those horrors of what Anne had to experience-I thank God every day for this life we have.)

But oh, the incredible knowledge,that ability to see something beautiful in everything....and how she can just touch my heart in a way no one else will ever be able to....It was one of her wishes to keep on touching people's lives long after she was gone, and Anne, you have done that, and so much more. Thank you, my darling girl for all you have given all of us.....

I also listened to a very special story about an unforgettable journey of the spirit at Chartres Cathedral from Charles Laughton:
(To go directly to this passage, click on the arrow above to start the audio, then slide the bar to 36:00 minutes to listen to this fascinating story) this was taken from an out of print LP called "The Story Telling" from 1962 for which it won a Grammy. (If anyone locates a copy of this, I would love to know-)

His voice is amazing! I could listen to him speak all day and never get tired. His recital of an excerpt from Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums is beautiful:

"And finally the snow came, it came swirling my way, sending radiant white heralds thru which I saw the angel of light peep. And the wind rose; suddenly a green and rose rainbow shafted not 300 yards from my door, it came among steaming clouds, an orange sun turmoiling. The lake was milk white a mile below; it was just too crazy. Suddenly my shadow was ringed by the rainbow on the hilltop. A lovely haloed mystery, making me want to pray. And I said, "God, I love you." And I looked up to the sky and I really meant it. I have fallen in love with you God, take care of us all one way or the other."

Listening to Charles makes me yearn to go back to the 50's or 60's-where everything seemed to be in black and white, in a time that I envision in my mind as being much more innocent and polite than life as we know it today-its a place that was filled with glamour and dinner jackets and candlelight meals with dancing afterwards at the club to a 20 piece orchestra.....where there was romance and refinement and beautiful things just for the sake of being beautiful-his descriptions are so vivid you feel like you are right there, in the middle of it.

Just do yourself a favor and grab a cup of coffee (or a martini if its later in the day) and enjoy this-its one of my gifts to you this holiday season.

You will thank me-I promise!

(Of course after listening to this I then had to research the Chartres Cathedral, Etienne Houvet and Charles Lautner.) Just fascinating stuff......It makes you realize there is so much more to life than we think we know.


Gloria said...

The Charles Laughton record "The Storyteller" can still easily found second-hand: try eBay or other similar places and a copy of the two-record set comes every then and now.

It's a fine record: it should be re-released.

As for other things related to this fine actor, we can still see him in the many films he worked in

Gloria said...

...By the way, did you know that Laughton was famous for his delivery of the Gettysburg Adress?

He did so for the first time in the film "Ruggles of Red Gap" (people would usually ask him to repeat it in public appearances).

Check it in this Youtube link: