Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marie Hilley

High Hopes

The Fraziers saw a brighter future for Marie than their own. Their daughter, they proudly predicted, wouldn't have to spend countless years breathing the linty, stifling air of the mills. She would graduate high school and be a secretary, a humble ambition that seemed, in the context of the Fraziers' times and surroundings, the loftiest of dreams. Blue Mountain girls usually got no more than a grade school education before they began working at Linen Thread. Marie would be different—she was special, and her parents told her so.

In 1945 the Fraziers moved from Blue Mountain to Anniston, and Marie began 7th grade at Quintard Junior High School. Anniston, though geographically close to Blue Mountain, was socially worlds away. Anniston had its own upper class, comprised chiefly of the owners of the various mills and factories where Marie's relatives had always worked. At Quintard, Marie found herself among children of privilege, and she cultivated friendships with them. She joined the student council and was serious about her studies, earning a reputation for maturity and intelligence. She was pretty, too, and well-dressed, and by the end of her 7th grade year she'd be chosen Prettiest Girl at Quintard by the Anniston High School yearbook staff.

Her successes continued at Anniston High. Marie joined the Future Teachers of America and the Commercial Club, an organization for girls who planned secretarial careers. Her seriousness established her among her peers as a girl with depth and dependability. Her looks and style made the boys look twice, and while she enjoyed their attention, she was already spoken for. Marie was Frank Hilley's girl.

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