By Gil Tisnado
I could tell you I was born on a dark and stormy Halloween night; however, being born in San Diego that would be a lie. My mom with her Jeanne Crain/Gene Tierney brunette movie star looks was hoping for a boy, especially after giving birth to two girls. My dad, who looked like a Mexican John Garfield, was just excited and nervous with the prospect of being a first time father.
After a successful delivery, I was cleaned and ready for inspection. The doctor and nurses, although startled by what they saw, put on their best stoic medical profession faces. I was brought to my mom’s side. She was thrilled and elated that her dream of having a boy came true. She slowly removed the baby blankets to view her boy wonder and then began to scream, “Nurse! Nurse! What’s wrong with him.”
The nurse knowing full well what was wrong said, “Calm down, Mrs. Tisnado. What is it?”
My mom pointed to me and stuttered, “The, the…hair, the…hair!”
Fantasy just met reality or should I say fantasy just met the ugly reality of what I looked like. Apparently, I had so much excessive black hair everywhere, on my back, chest, and bottom. One of nurses in the corner of the room whispered, “Gorilla Baby!” While one of the other nurses muttered, “More like Son of Kong.” The doctor was summoned to calm my hysterical mother.
“Doctor, Doctor, will the hair ever go away” my mom cried out. I’m sure she was wondering how much electrolysis treatments would be for a baby, and how soon treatments could begin.
The doctor reassured my mom. “Don’t worry Mrs. Tisnado. The hair will eventually fall away. He’s just extraordinarily hairy.” I was then quickly covered up. My parents embraced and comforted each other, deciding they would love me regardless of my hairy condition.
It was time for me to go home and meet my golden blonde sisters; Marie age five and Ginger age four. They were so excited to see their new baby brother until they discovered I resembled Cheetah from the Tarzan movies. Ginger immediately ran to her bedroom crying. Outspoken, precocious little Marie pleaded, “Mommy, can’t you take him back to the hospital and trade him for another baby.” No, my mom told her. I was there to stay. This handsome family with movie star looks would just have to adjust to the hairy creature that was thrust upon them on Halloween 1949.
To this day my sister says, “You know from the very beginning there was something very odd about you.” Hey, it could have been worse. At least the folks didn’t bring home “Rosemary’s Baby.”