May 14, 2014
Lina Medina is the youngest confirmed mother in medical history. She gave birth to a boy when she was five years old. The boy had a natural life, but didn’t know that his mom was a mom. For the first ten years of his life, he thought that was his sister. He lived till he was 40, but mom is still alive and living in Peru. When her parents brought her to a doctor, they thought she may have a tumor, but the hospital confirmed that she was seven months pregnant. It’s very rare, but it seems Lina matured quite early in her life. There was also the big question who is the father? It was suspected that it was Lina’s father, and he was arrested, but they found no proof that he was the actual father. Lina either didn’t tell, or she can’t remember. Nevertheless, her son Gerardo, who was named after the doctor who delivered the baby, had a reasonable normal life, but died from a bone marrow disease.
I first heard about the strange occurrence of Lina, while studying Lou Harrison’s music and his interest in Peru. It is always ironic that how one can read about something else, and it will lead to another avenue or narration. The photograph of Lina, expecting at seven months, is an image that haunts me for various reasons. She of course, in her time, became a media darling. A producer in America was trying to entice her with an offer of $5,000 to document her life, but she or her family didn’t give an approval. But there is likewise a report that her doctor, had made films of Lina for scientific documentation, but either by chance or karma, the film footage was in a baggage and was dropped into the river while crossing a very primitive bridge. So there are very few images of Lina’s pregnancy. Well, actually one still exists.
My mother had me when she was 19 years old. So, it is my nature to take an interest in women who gave birth at such a young age. Oona Chaplin, was also 19, when she gave birth to her daughter Geraldine Chaplin. It must have been strange to be married to such an iconic figure and yet, your sole job, was to raise the children in that family. Oona has always been interesting, because she is a mystery to me. She started off her life as the daughter of the distinguished playwright Eugene O’Neill, who pretty much ignored her during her lifetime, as well as distancing himself from her and Chaplin, who he reportedly hated. Nevertheless she was chosen as “The Number One Debutante” of the 1942-1943 season at the Stork Club in New York City. It is a likelihood that Charlie met Oona at the Stork Club. But history said that they met when she approached him for a role in a film, that eventually didn’t get produced - nevertheless they fell in love, and she gave up her dreams of being just an actress. She gave birth to seven more children, with Charlie as the dad, and that was very well the twilight years for Chaplin, with respect for his film work. The McCarthy era was a very harsh decade for people like Charlie Chaplin. In 1954, Oona gave up her American citizenship and became a British citizen. So, first she had to strip her ambitions to be an actress, and then eventually remove herself as an American.
As I write this, I’m also facing my Facebook page, and I decided to look up Oona and Lina. I don’t know the family history, but there is an actress named Oona Chaplin, who I presume is the granddaughter of our Oona, as well as a page for Lina Medina! It is just so odd that we have something like Facebook in our lives, because it attaches so many people, yet makes them one. Today it’s Mark Zuckerberg’s birthday and ten years ago, Facebook started, and what I found interesting is that he’s color blind. He chooses the color blue for Facebook, because it is the one color he can actually see. Also the fact that he was born in 1984, says a lot about our culture.