Carl Christopher Bradley was born to Johnny and Grace Bradley in Oxford, Mississippi on March 16, 1970. Johnny worked in the timber industry, cutting down trees for pulpwood. Grace was a homemaker.
Carl often rode with his father in the pulpwood trucks, bouncing up and down the highway to Grenada with a load of those massive logs.
But Carl's playtime in the forests of northern Mississippi came to an end when Johnny Bradley was crushed under a fallen tree. Some speculated at the time that Johnny was drunk and brought it on himself, but Carl still doesn't know if that's the truth.
A couple of years later, Grace married mechanic Robert Fine. Carl found it hard to believe that his new father worked in such a confined space compared to the forests Johnny had worked in.
Carl's half-brother, Andy, loved cars and watching his father work, but Carl never did. His new stepfather treated him well and soon adopted him, but Carl just never could get used to that garage.
The older Andy got, the more his attitude caused friction between the two brothers. Carl allowed his younger brother to focus his temper tantrums on him, hoping to keep their younger sister, Antoinette, out of Andy's line of fire. Even though he knew Andy would unleash a torrent of criticism, questioning his courage and his manhood, Carl just walked away without responding.
In school, Carl did fairly well. He was far from the top of the class, but he tried hard, and the teachers appreciated his effort and eagerness. He worked summers in the timber industry, following in his father's footsteps. He saved enough money to buy an old Ford pickup and often spent the afternoons cleaning and polishing the truck.
After graduation, Carl went fulltime into timber and soon managed a team of pulpwood men. His hard work and dedication served him well as he worked his way up through the forestry company.
Once Andy graduated high school, Carl was pleased when his brother enlisted in the Navy. Carl had always strived to maintain a relationship with Andy, but he was grateful for the quiet that came with Andy's absence.
While Andy was away, Carl dated Cindy Campbell for a time. On Fridays, after a long day in the forest, he would take Cindy to the movies and out to eat somewhere on the Square. The relationship seemed to be progressing, and most people at their church felt like it was just a matter of time before they married.
But then Andy returned from his stint in the Navy, and Cindy soon took up with him. Carl was enraged by this betrayal, but as always, he deferred to his tumultuous brother to keep the peace.
Andy and Cindy soon married. It bothered Carl to see the way his brother treated his new bride, but he stayed out of it, not wanting to make things any worse for Cindy.
Soon after Andy's marriage, their Aunt Minnie passed away and left her farmhouse to Carl, Andy and Antoinette. Over his siblings' objections, Andy held raucous parties there that often left the house in shambles. Even though Carl was sometimes invited to the parties, Andy ignored his pleas to keep the house in good order, and it gradually fell into disrepair.
In recent years, with his mother and sister living in Florida, Carl was on his own to try to rein in his wayward brother's behavior.