Souris couple getting married today sixty years after engagement

Jim Meurant, Mary Arsenault reunited after taking a shine to each other when attending Souris dances in the late 1940s

Steve Sharratt
Published on June 28, 2014

SOURIS — Mary Arsenault is finally getting married today after getting engaged 60 years ago.

It wasn’t supposed to take that long but sometimes life throws a few curve balls.

Jim Meurant and Mary Arsenault are living proof that Cupid’s arrow can knock one over the fence.

“I knew I’d get her one way or another’’ says the happy groom. “I just didn’t think it would take so long.”

The couple has been reunited after taking a shine to each other back in the day when they attended Souris dances in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Mary, 76, lives in St. Margaret’s, just down the road from the church where she will finally get to say “I do” to her first boyfriend.

Jim, 82, moved back after years of living in the Boston States and even found the same engagement ring he gave his honey so long ago.

“It cost me $200 bucks back then and I got it at the old jewellery store in Souris.”

It all started when Mary and Jim got together 60 years ago. They were engaged for four years, but the times and different roads of life disrupted those early intentions.

“I had to go Boston to work as a nanny,’’ said Mary. “It was difficult to plan a wedding and a life when we were so far apart.”

Jim also headed to the U.S. for employment and they just mutually agreed to wait. The years went by, they lost touch and life took both of them for a ride.

Jim eventually married and had two sons, but lost his entire family over the years to heart-related issues.

Mary got married to a New Brunswicker, had six children, and was a widow by 39.

“The youngest child was 22 months,’’ said daughter Debbie. “Mom lived with great frugality and raised us all on her own and even took in other children to make ends meet.”

Mary admits she always had a soft spot for Jim who was obviously an ardent suitor. He would call every now again just to see how she was getting along.

Last summer Jim was paying a visit to Island relatives and his brother-in-law suggested he call up his old girlfriend.

“We went out for dinner and she told me to make sure I call on her again,’’ laughs Jim. “I later phoned her and said do you want to get married and she said not now.”

But then one day (as Jim tells it), Mary phoned out of the blue and said it was time to tie the knot.

“It’s companionship,’’ says Mary. “It was a long winter last year and I was here alone.”

Jim calls Mary his dream girl and was delighted to find the original engagement ring he gave to her 60 years ago.

“I gave it to my cousin who kept it all these years and always said that one day we will both get back together,’’ he says squeezing Mary’s hand.

The wedding in St. Margaret’s today at 1 p.m. will be filled with family and friends and lots of music and dancing.

Asked if a honeymoon is in the offing?

“When it’s all over and the family all leaves we might go for a little trip,’’ says Mary.

“I’m thinking Moncton,’’ says Jim.

James Meurant and Mary Arsenault will tie the knot today at 1 p.m. in St. Margaret’s after getting engaged 60 years ago.

©THE GUARDIAN/Steve Sharratt