EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: The Memory Mender on Oak Island
OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — There is a lady in Oak Island who is making beary-tale endings. It all started when someone helped her in a time of need. Now Sally Winey is helping others in a time of need. We call her the “Memory Mender.”
“It’s good to see you,” Winey told the UPS man, who was dropping off another bear for repair recently.
“So this guy just came in the mail from Florida,” Winey said of the newest bear to arrive at her shop. “This is how I get them.”
They come from all over the world, and most come with a heartfelt note.
“They will be 60 years old in May and born in England,” Winey read from the letter included in the delivery. “Please do your best to make these good as new.”
People drive many miles to see this memory mender.
“Dear cosmetic surgeon,” Rebecca Ficklen said as she read aloud the note attached to a bear she was dropping off for a family member. “I would like the body of Smokey the Bear, the sense of honor of Fozzy the Bear, the nosh of Paddington Bear, the charisma of Yogi the Bear, the belly of Winnie the Pooh and last but not least, the dancing skills of the bear in ‘Jungle Book.’ Signed, Teddy.”
Winey started making bears back in the early ’80s.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing,” she said, “but I got women together, and we’d all sit at the table, and I would cut out and design the bears in the morning; sew them up in the afternoon.”
After stitching up some up-and-down life lessons, “Dr. Sally” now runs a full-time stuffed animal hospital in Oak Island. And business is booming for bear repair. When asked about deliveries, Winey said they come, “every day. There is no season.”
But Winey’s memory mending magic isn’t the only extraordinary storyline at Winey Bears. Winey just beat cancer, too. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and cancer free this year.
“I’ll tell ya,” she said of second guessing whether or not to get checked out, “if you think you’re not fine, keep checking. I found out I had a little tumor, but if I would have said, ‘I’m fine,’ and not get it checked, it would be Stage 1 or a happy story.”
And this is a happy story with a beary-tale ending.
Sally Winey, what you do to keep us stuffed full of memories is extraordinary.
So how long does it take to fix a teddy bear? It depends on the damage and what it’s made of, but typically, one to two weeks.
As Dr. Sally told us, each bear has its own story.
For more information on Sally Winey and her Winey Bear story line, click here.