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Jamie Kiffel - 11/16/99

She invented a stylish new accessory! 

Lorry hated using a cane...so she turned the walking stick into an accessory so glamorous, people can't wait to get their hands on them!
 

"Me? Use a cane?!" Lorry Gregory asked her doctor in disbelief three years ago. A former tennis pro who now works at an air-conditioning firm, Lorry couldn't picture herself walking with a cane. But when a fall gave her no choice but to make a cane part of her wardrobe, she found a way to make it an outstanding part...

"All the canes I see look like hospital equipment! How can I feel good if my cane makes me look old?" Lorry frowned to her grown daughter Lorrae. "We'll think of something," Lorrae soothed. And a few days later, she surprised Lorry with a rainbow-striped cane made by an artist!

"Now this has style!" Lorry exclaimed - and she got to thinking: I change my purse for different outfits. Why not my cane? So she got to work, sawing and gluing until she had her first custom cane, sequined from top to bottom!

"That's no old lady cane!" exclaimed her grandson Kyle, 15. And when she took it out for a walk..."Now that's what I need!" said one neighbor. "My ugly, gray thing makes me feel awful!"

Inspired, Lorry got back to work, and soon had a star-spangled July Fourth cane, a jungle cane, and all kinds of others! I bet other people would like to see this, Lorry thought. So she called up a few retirement communities, re-named herself The Cane Lady and took her show to the road. She'd set out an assortment of canes, and soon, everyone would be laughing as they strutted with fancy canes decorated with sequins and flowers. "I feel like dancing!" one man laughed.

Lorry even set up a website (www.geomagnet.com/canelady) where people can order custom canes. But Lorry notes she's not hoping for riches - she gives many of the canes away or sells them at cost.

"But it's worth it - I love showing that a cane doesn't have to make you feel sluggish," she grins. "In fact, the only thing about my canes that'll slow you down is the crowd of people who'll stop you to admire them!" 


 
 

by Robert Nolin

Colorful canes are flights of fancy for Parkland woman.

Lorry Gregory is raising canes to new heights of design. For about a year she has crafted walking sticks in every hue of the rainbow and every mode of whimsy. There are candy-colored canes, silver, gold, green, yellow, red and blue. They are bedecked with flowers, beads, feathers, butterflies, googly eyes, happy faces and sea shells.
 

Lorr Gregory, of Parkland, uses a cane from necessity, but her handmade, whimsical walking sticks are as much fun as functional. And to share the pleasure she gets from them, Gregory has been giving them away to those who comment favoralbley on them. On a recent cruis, she handed out about 20 to her practical works of art

"I just think it's kind of a pick-me-up," Gregory says. "If you have to use a cane, why does it have to be so drab?"

Gregory, 69, uses a cane herself. She has carried one since a fall about a year ago activated a case of arthritis. That's when the widow turned her creative juices loose on what has traditionally been a simple brown stick.

Now, with about 50 canes to choose from, the "Cane Lady" sports a different stick every day when she goes to her job as an estimator with an air-conditioning testing firm. She even has holiday-specific canes: red, white, blue and star spangled for the Fourth of July; green holly and red for Christmas; hearts and flowers for St. Valentine's Day.

"They go with every outfit. People get a kick out of them, "Gregory says. "No matter where I go, everybody has a comment to make."

Comments were heard aplenty last spring when Gregory took about 40 canes on a cruise. For the shipboard gambling, Gregory stepped up to the tables with a special model = decorated with toy money and dice. "I had a lot of fun with it in the casino," she says, laughing.

Gregory ended up giving away about 20 canes to delighted fellow cruisers, who dubbed her the Cane Lady. "These canes are in various parts of the country," she says.

Giving away her natty staffs - even to people who remark upon them - is part of Gregory's scheme. She has donated more than a dozen to people who need a cane but may not have the means to buy one. "If you have to use a can, why not strut in style?" she says.

Besides being a vehicle for Gregory's generosity, cane-decorating offers another outlet for Gregory, a breast cancer survivor whose daughter was killed in a 1985 car crash caused by a convicted felon fleeing the police.
 
"They go with every outfit. People get a kick out of them. No matter where I go, everybody has a comment to make."
-Lorry Gregory

"It's good therapy for me."Gregory says. "I enjoy it a lot."

Working in her backyard gazebo, Gregory makes the canes form oaken, broom-handle-type wood bought at the hardware store. She cuts the pieces to size, drills holes for the dowels and glues the handle to the shaft. Then she applies whatever design suits her fancy, utilizing such craft staples as pearls, ribbons, spray paint and stones. "I'm always looking for new ideas," Gregory says.

Her output is about two canes a week, and Gregory estimates she spends $15 to $20 on each. It takes about 10 hours to produce each cane. But the hobby is starting to take a financial toll.

"Eventually I may have to offset some of the cost to myself and sell some,"Gregory says. But her other daughter, Lorrae Flanders, with whom Gregory lives, has another concern."We'll have to add a wing to house my mother's canes," she teases.


 
 
CORAL SPRINGS - PARKLAND FORUM
Thursday, January 28, 1999
by Lenny DellaRocca

Parkland woman leans on imagination


When Lorry Gregory, 70, was told by her doctor that she had arthritis, she accepted it.

When he told her she should use a cane, she did not.

"The canes were awful. I couldn't do it," she said. The plain, ordinary, functional cane was not a hit with Gregory, who lives with her daughter Lorrae, in Parkland.

So, after seeking the expertise of orthopedic surgeons, Gregory started making her own canes. 

Bright, colorful, unique and functional, Gregory's canes are eye-catching. She became known as The Cane Lady.

Now with about 100 canes under her belt, Gregory sells them at area senior centers.

"There's not a lot of profit in it," she said. The canes - glittering, striped, textured and adorned 

with shells, hearts, happy faces, dice, money, blinking red lights, baubles, foil, butterflies, flowers, fruit, bows, cats, dogs, birds, beads and just about anything else Gregory can her hands on - are made of wood.

Each of them usually honor a theme like Christmas, Halloween, Las Vegas, Israel, the Fourth of July, etc.

Gregory began by cutting the wood herself with a saw, but has since let someone else do that for her. 

She paints, glues, drills and decorates all of them herself. Her home-based business isn't exactly Microsoft right now, but Gregory enjoys making them. 

Martha Kessinger, resident Services director at St Andrews Estates South, an independent living facility told Gregory in a letter, " Your cane collection is incredible...I know the residents... were pleased to see that canes do not have to be the standard black." 

CANE & ABLE: Lorry Gregory of Parkland displays just a few of her many glittering canes she amkes herself. 

So far, Gregory has sold about 20 canes. She usually gets orders when people see hers.

"I took one with me on a cruise and people marveled." she said. 

When not making canes, Gregory works for her daughter who has a Test & Balance business in the air-conditioning industry. 

Gregory is a retired tennis pro.

Need a cane of a different color? Call THE CANE LADY, 
(954) 344-5239
Fax (954) 755-7017
E-mail information@canelady.net

 

CORAL SPRINGS - PARKLAND FORUM

Thursday, July 3, 2003

by Amy Ward

Parkland women makes walking more stylish.

Lorry Gregory is walking her way to high fashion, one step at a time.

The Parkland resident was diagnosed with arthritis several years ago, but when told to use a typical walking cane to get around the 74-year-old fashion diva knew that simply wasn’t going to happen.

“They’re these ugly brown chrome things, they’re terrible,” she said.

Creative juices flowing, she soon stepped into a solution. Within weeks, she was handcrafting her own fashionable walking canes, in every color and theme imaginable. From butterflies to glitter, to rainbows to reptiles, this artist brought forth her own wrist-held Renaissance.

“My daughter bought me a fancy cane, that’s where I got the idea,” she said.

“Now, I change canes like I change purses or shoes.”

And whenever Gregory was in public, someone would marvel at her stylish walking sticks and inquire where to find them. As a result, she started making them for others.

When she was featured in Women’s World magazine, her canes’ popularity exploded.

“As a result, people have called from all over,” Gregory said.

Now in her office hangs an official map of the U.S., thumb-tacked with every sales she’s made across the country. From Washington state to D.C., from Texas to Montana, the chic senior has improved the fashion sense of hundreds of people.
 

“People tell me all the time they’re so disgusted with the regular canes,” she said. “It’s so depressing to see people hobbling along on those ugly things. These help them perk up a little bit. I know it helped me and now, I get to make others happy.”

Gregory said most of her clients suffer from arthritis and multiple sclerosis, but anyone suffering from a motion disability can enjoy the effects of her colorful canes.

“The comment I get the most is that instead of looking at their affliction they’re looking at their cane and saying ‘Oh how cute and fun;’ that’s what people have told me.”

Gregory’s creative construction process begins with a personalized idea inspired by the likes and loves of each particular customer. Some of the decorative designs she’s done throughout the years include a Budweiser cane, a tropical aquarium themed cane, foot ball and baseball canes, a Jack Daniels cane, and even a Southern Bell telephone cane. “A man had recently retired from Southern Bell and wanted a phone cane," she said. "So I just found all kinds of Southern Bell signs and phone items like cables and cords and stuff."

Gregory said when it comes to finding the things that make her cans one of kind, there can be some real searching involved.

When you're looking for something like cows or frogs, you have to do a lot legwork," she said.  "Everyone has their own ideas,"

Coral Springs resident Kim Kelleher heard about Gregory's canes and immediately thought of her 69-year-old grandmother up north.

  "Actually, my grandmother's favorite thing was frogs,  so Lorry, I don't know how she did it, but she came up with all these frog figurines and stickers," Kelleher said.  "I was a little skeptical at first... but when I saw it, it was just totally awesome.  It's a constant reminder to my grandmother that I'm always with her.  That's the best thing about it.

  "She absolutely loved it, and she's the talk of her retirement town.  I've visited her since then and everybody wanted one."

When Gregory's not making canes, you can probably find her in her "Cane Lady" golf cart, which a man decorated for her for free after finding out she had given a few of her canes away to needy seniors.

  The canes sell for about $45, to cover the cost of materials and just some of the time spent on creating them.  One can can take hours, Gregory said.

  The canes are also therapeutic for her. Her 25-year-old daughter was murdered several years ago, and the canes help keep her moving in more ways than one.

  "It's just something you never get over, so this keeps my mind busy so you don't think about things.  It's good therapy for me," she said.

For information or to see some samples of Gregory's canes, visit www.canelady.net or call her studio at (954) 344-5239.  She can also be reached via e-mail at onenonlycanelady@aol.com.

 

 

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