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In Yvette Horner’s living room in Paris, there is no doubt which instrument made her famous. There’s a giant accordion-shaped mirror, matching accordion candelabras, a wooden credenza inlaid with accordions and framed pictures showing her playing the accordion. At 89, Horner is a bit frail and needs help hoisting the instrument onto her lap. She’s sold her big house and much of the memorabilia from her music career, and moved into this small assisted-living apartment in eastern Paris.

Despite the setting, Horner isn’t ­retired. She still has her…



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