Laurence Bricker was born on October 3, 1973, in Lexington, Virginia, to Beauregard and Agnes Bricker.
Beau Bricker was the headmaster of the Virginia Barrie Institute, a small prep school for boys originally known as a school of last resort for the wealthy but uninspired students of Virginia. However, Beau took it as a personal challenge to raise the institute's performance, and he created an almost military-like schedule and course load.
Laurence knew nothing but drive and discipline his entire life. Every night after dinner, his father made sure Laurence studied for three hours, after which he reviewed Laurence's homework and critiqued his writing.
Laurence's young life consisted only of classes, study, and chores. He rarely particpated in sports, although his father instilled a rigorous physical fitness program, and had very few friends. Frivolous things like popular music, television, and movies were off-limits.
One of The Headmaster's passions was the poetry of Milton, Donne, and Dante. He pushed Laurence into literature, and the boy was explicating poems at an age when most other kids were reading The Hardy Boys.
Even at Princeton and Yale, where he was away from his father's control, Laurence kept to the same principles he had known all his life. He rose early, did his jumping jacks and sit-ups, went to class, went to the library to study, and went to bed. Very little else entered his life.
After finishing his Ph.D. in English, Laurence accepted a job at a small military prep academy in Staunton, Virginia, so he could be closer to his family. The Headmaster retired in ill health, and the Brickers hired a stern woman named Margaret Johnston to provide professional care. Margaret was a plain but fierce woman who took good care of the elderly patriarch.
After Beauregard Bricker passed away, Laurence asked Margaret to marry him. He hadn't thought about it before, but a man of his position and ambition needed a wife, and Margaret was certainly driven and determined enough. She accepted, and the couple married about five months after The Headmaster's funeral.
Laurence wanted to teach at a more prestigious institution, preferably a university, but found it difficult to jump from a prep school to the Ivy League. Ultimately, he accepted a job at the University of Mississippi, where he immediately applied himself and went about separating the wheat from the chaff.
He spent most of his time in his office, poring over student classwork and his research materials. His rigorous demands drove away most students, which suited Laurence just fine. As his father taught him, Laurence believed he was there to work, not make friends, a view he wished his more frivolous colleagues like Douglas Reed shared.