The Stork Is Now A Sign Of These Fertile Times...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Once upon an obstetrician's house call, the myth that the stork delivered babies into backyard cabbage patches was just that: a myth. These days, however, a hybrid creature part fact, part fancy-is popping up all over the posher parts of the city and suburbs. Landing on front walks, and looming in front yards, this quasi-bird is giving grown-up credence to the silly childhood notion.

Not surprisingly, the creature occurs in only two shades, the obligatory pink and baby blue. Stopping traffic and turning heads, wherever it appears, wherever it lands, it is a stork: a 7 1/2 foot-tall, plywood stork. No longer is a five-line birth announcement in the Hinsdale Doings or the Deerfield Review enough. This is the age of the baby billboard. And these latex-painted creatures both advertise a baby's name, weight and date of birth and laud the proud papa and mama.

In the words of one Washington, D.C., fertility specialist, the stork is but another accouterment of today's "conspicuous conception"-an affliction common among the millions of late-blooming baby boomers overjoyed at finally disposing of six-figure incomes on their long-delayed bundles. The stork hardly stands alone in signaling the generation's tizzy over its reproductive prowess. Other symptoms are the $1,000 imported Bellini crib, the $200 collapsible Apiica stroller and, of course, the ubiquitous $1.95 "Baby on Board" car-window sign.

"These are the babies born to parents in their 30's," said Ann Narcism, proprietor of Littlest Offspring, a Hinsdale children's boutique. "These babies are planned they don't just happen along. They are anxiously awaited. People have more money at 35 than they do at 22, so they're saying 'what the hell.' and spending like crazy. "The grandmas comes in and say, 'I never thought I'd have a grandchild.' They're thrilled," Narcisi said. "They're the generation whose daughters decided to become lawyers and then, at 37 or 39, got around to becoming moms. They're the ones who want to have it all. Everything." Indeed, one stork announcing the April 6 arrival of 9-pound, 7-ounce Jaime Lynn Gongorek was perched in the front lawn of a turn of-the-century gingerbread-style house in Hinsdale whose driveway boasted two station wagons-one a Volvo, the other a Mercedes-Benz. Proud mother Denise Gongorek, 35, couldn't have been happier about her front-yard bird. "I fell in love with it the second I saw an ad for it at my obstetrician's office. I kept shuffling the flier around the house for weeks, hoping my husband would get the hint." He did. And just about the time baby Jaime was feeling the confines of her very first diaper, the hand lettered stork was proclaiming her arrival to all who motored up and down the lane on which her parents live. "We had people backing up and pulling into our driveway all week," Gongorek said, laughing. "Nothing like being on a busy street and everybody knowing our business anyway. Every time we went anywhere in town people were stopping us and asking about the stork." At least a dozen mothers-to-be in Hinsdale have penned their names onto a stork waiting list. "This is a hot, hot, hot item," said Pam De Luca, who, as manager of Littlest Offspring knows a big seller in the baby market when she sees one. "They do spend the buckaroos where their babies are concerned, don't they.?" Although the Gongoreks' stork actually arrived via a Naperville woman who paints the birds and their baby bundles in her home, the whole flock migrated north from Fayetteville , NC .

Stork News of America, Inc. was founded there twenty three years ago by Cheryl Young, a homemaker who decided she could make a bundle delivering homemade birth announcements that 'would not be missed by passersby.

Naperville's Carleen Banks, 35, a nurse looking for a way to earn an income at home, caught onto the concept last year while visiting Fayetteville when she saw a story about the storks in a local paper.

Since February, just weeks after delivering her own baby No.3, Banks has planted birds in front lawns from St. Charles to Hinsdale . For $65 for five days, Banks will perch a gender-appropriate stork wherever the proud parents desire. Twins are a bargain at $100 a pair, Banks said. The bird is picked-up after five days, but the parents get to keep the stork's detachable bundle, on which the pertinent information has been painted. "It saves on birth announcements," said Banks, ever the saleswomen. "And it's cheaper than roses. Moms everywhere are telling their husbands, "Don't send me flowers. Send me the stork."'

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Stork News of America Inc.
1305 Hope Mills Rd., #A
Fayetteville, NC

Phone: (910)426-1357
Toll Free: (800)633-6395
Fax: (910)426-2473

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