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Life after Army not so bad after all

Mary Agnes Saucier was my childhood sweetheart, the only girl that wore my high school class of 1952 ring.

Her father was a logger cutting cross ties on my dad’s farm in the 1940s. He logged with horses. On the weekend, she would accompany him when he came to feed those teams of horses. She and I would wade in the creek and play.

When I went to college, she started dating, and I asked for my class ring back.

Thirty years later, I retired from the U.S. Army and came home to Natchez. One day, while shopping in TG&Y, a lady walked by and dropped a package. I dove down and picked it up, and when I handed it to her and saw her face, I asked her if her name was Mary Agnes Saucier.

She quickly said “no,” but that was her mother’s name.

I introduced myself as Erle Drane, and she said, “Mother has spoken about you all through the years.”

I asked how her mother was, and she said, “Mother is here in the store.” Cindy, the daughter, worked there and paged her mother. Mary came up and asked Cindy what she wanted.

“That fellow says he knows you.”

“That scraggley thing?,” she replied.

I have to add, I hadn’t shaved since I retired months earlier so I could try out for an actor’s part in the movie “The North and South,” starring my seventh cousin, Patrick Swayze.

It wasn’t long that my Yankee wife and I got a divorce, and Mary called me up to cheer me up.

We started dating, and she was sealed to me in the Latter Day Saints temple for time and eternity.

She died Oct. 12 at the Minden La., Medical Center.

She is the love of my life forever.

I hope this has touched your heart in this holiday season.


Erle Drane is a Natchez resident and U.S. veteran who is working to collect stories from veterans for publication in a book.