Fertility painting brings babies for 13 couples

There's a Connecticut-based oil painting that's been circulating around the country for decades now, that's said to bring good luck in the form of fertility to couples trying for a baby. It's an ordinary enough looking scene of a little boy looking out a window as flags fly in the distance on a sunny day.

There's nothing compelling about the painting that would make me want to buy it if I saw it in a store. However, the history of the piece and the joy it's brought to 13 couples gives it a special appeal.

The premise is simple: if you're trying to have a baby, hang it in your home until you get pregnant and give birth. Then, return it to the owner, so she can spread the joy.

The instructions on the back are engraved in a metal plaque. It reads: "This picture has helped many couples achieve the joy of parenthood. Simply hang it in your home and after your dream comes true please return the picture to Robin Surwilo."

The directions also ask that new parents add their "child's first name, month, and year of birth" to the list on the back. "Believe this, it has helped every time," insists the directions. Robin isn't sure what imbues this painting with seemingly magical powers.

Robin, a South Windsor psychologist, came into possession of the painting in 2012. She says her mother, Dr. Barbara Surwilo, gave it to her because she was having a hard time getting pregnant.

"My mother went to the garage and pulled out a dusty painting and handed it to me. I thought it was silly, but I had nothing to lose so I hung it up. And I did get pregnant," admits Robin, who gave birth to her first child, Blaise, in 2012.

Robin goes on to say she wasn't quite a believer, but after loaning it to three couples in the successive four years, she is a believer now. All those couples had babies – some had twins. Those children are listed on the back of the painting now: Nolan and Ava, Morgan, Kenneth, Addison.

Along with the mystery of why it works comes another unanswered question: where did the painting come from? The list of babies starts in with a boy named John born in 1955, and includes Robin's sister, Stephanie, and cousin Erica.

The list of names stops in 1979 before picking up again in the current century. "That's just because my mom forgot it in the garage for decades," laughs Dr. Surwilo, who promises not to forget it in her own storage.

Robin knows Barbara received it from her mother, Connie Orsini Greenlaw, also a Constitution State resident. Robin deduces that Greenlaw got it from her best friend, Susie Abvocino.

"Susie and her husband Mike were an Italian couple whose daughters Daryl and Mari, are both listed on the painting, so I know my Gram must have gotten it from Susie," says Robin.

That’s where the trail goes cold. While Robin recognizes all the other names on the list, she doesn’t know who that first baby, John, is- and those who may have known have passed on.

While Robin may not know the painting’s history, she is certain of its future. She’s excited to loan it out to friends and relatives who ask, spreading magic – and joy – wherever it hangs. 

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