By Anne Schuhle, Buffalo News

Petite, pleasant, and all of 90 years old, MaryLou Fisher sits nestled in a floral channel-back chair, awaiting customers in her equally diminutive antique shop. Hers has been a life of happenstance, flexibility and entrepreneurship. Some of the details unfolded when my husband and I made a three-day trip to Laurel Highlands, a bounteous 250-square-mile region in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania.

Fred and I had stopped at the Bittersweet Café in Farmington to check out its highly touted chicken salad sandwich between tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater. While waiting to order, I’d spotted an open doorway into the shop, then wandered in while Fred staked out a table nearby. In less than five minutes I learned that MaryLou had found the love of her life, Lew, when he walked into another shop where she worked some 70 years ago. He was from Canada and trying out for a Pittsburgh Pirates farm team but hurt his ankle, derailing one dream and launching another that included MaryLou. Twenty-eight years ago he suggested they buy the house in Farmington and open an antique store in part of it. Despite suffering two small strokes and losing her central vision, MaryLou is grateful for all her memories and happy to share them when customers strike up a conversation.

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