Julie Treadway was popular in school and had consistently been voted onto the Superlative list as “the cutest girl.”
She was quick-witted and her one-liners could often drop you to your knees with laughter. She was diminutive, standing exactly five feet tall but her effervescent personality made her seem almost gigantic at times. When she walked, her long brown ponytail swayed back and forth in perfect cadence like a metronome and was almost hypnotic to the boys watching it.
They described her as that “cutie pie” but none of them got any further than a quick conversation in class or in the hallway. Most of them were poor and had no higher aspirations than to work at a local filling station, with dreams of someday owing it.
Julie had plans after she graduated and it didn’t include being married to a grease monkey. She wasn’t going to be one of those women who walked around the house all day long in a bathrobe and slippers, with curlers in her hair, chasing a child who needed its diaper changed.
There also wasn’t going to be a two income family in her future. She would laugh and say “I’m not going to get married and have to go to work to support myself. I can stay single and do that.”
She was unapologetic in her determination to marry a rich man and live in a mansion on top of a hill. She didn’t really care where the mansion or the hill was as long as her husband was rich and it was obvious that she was not going to find him in that sleepy little town.
The exception could have been Bobby Earl Willoughby, IV. He could be described as almost beautiful but everybody knew he was a player. Julie was briefly captivated by his charm but she had a good head on her shoulders and quickly saw through his game. Their romance fizzled before it ever caught fire.
To some, Julie may have sounded shallow but living from hand to mouth had never appealed to her. Her parents were by no stretch of the imagination as wealthy as Reenys’. Even though they lived comfortably, Julie knew that poverty had once been a way of life for them until a fortuitous venture by her father resulted in a stroke of good fortune.
Only those closest to her knew that almost every weekend she volunteered as a candy-striper at the local hospital, delivering flowers to patients and offering conversation to those who had no visitors. She was known as one of the most empathetic, caring volunteers and her youth made her benevolence even more impressive.
If you were her friend, no torture had ever been invented that could make her betray you and if somebody dared to bully anybody, this “cutie pie” would attack with the ferocity of a rabid dog. Her vituperations would leave you with no doubt that you had just been slain.
She was also a practical joker and nobody was immune. She once posted a note on the students’ bulletin board that school would not be held the next day, due to a teachers’ strike. It wasn’t until late that afternoon that a teacher saw it and had to make an announcement that all students were expected to attend class the next day.
The joke that is still legend was when she ordered new carpet for the office. The workers showed up with all their samples and measuring supplies, only to find out that it had been a prank. They never found out who did it and there was a mock “warrant” posted in the window of the office. Every time she saw it, she grinned.
To be continued……