Mary Fannie Woodruff is a testament to the benefits of keeping busy. At 103 years old, she still begins each morning by arriving at the pie shop she first opened with her husband in 1952 and assists in prepping ingredients and folding pie boxes. According to the website for Woodruff’s Cafe & Pie Shop in Monroe, Virginia, Mary Fannie also spends her days “holding court” at a back table, chatting with customers and telling stories. Can you think of a better retirement plan?
Cathy Free of The Washington Post has written a lovely little feature (just in time for Pi Day) about Mary Fannie and her three daughters, one of whom now owns the shop and runs it with her twin sisters. They make more than pies these days, offering sandwiches and soups, but dessert continues to be the main draw. “Nobody can resist stopping to try our pie,” Mary said.
Woodruff’s daughter Angela Scott revived the cafe in 1998, and she operates it alongside Darnette Hill and Darnelle Winston, the latter of whom lives just across the street with their mother. Woodruff used to live with her husband, who died in 1998, in an apartment above the store, where they raised their five children (she also has two sons). The neighborhood itself has a fascinating history as well, with connections to the Civil Rights Movement, which the Post dives into and uses to contextualize this enduring pie shop. Give it a read this Pi Day, and if you’re so inclined, try rolling out some dough and getting started on a weekend project of your own.