Woman in Corvette at Woodward & Twelve Mile Rd

her car

In the spring of my college school year 1972–73 after my sabbatical ⅔ year off and before my year in England, I was at 12 & Woodward (the site of several fun adventures for me) hitching back to the seminary late at night — perhaps 1:30 — from visiting the Devine family in Fraser. A shiny deep purple corvette pulled over. I was shocked anyone pulled over on that dark corner. I hopped in to find a young woman driving. Let’s call her Rhoda. I generally found that striking up a conversation is a good idea with people who take the trouble to stop and offer a ride. So I used one of my better lines, “How are you tonight?” Rhoda replied, “I just fucked up my life,” and started crying as she pulled back onto westbound Twelve Mile. I don’t recall how I succeeded in encouraging her to continue with her story (or why).

  • She works at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • She shares an apartment with her boyfriend. I’ll call him Ken.
  • Ken works somewhere, not at KFC.
  • She has friends that work at KFC.

Earlier in the evening, there was a party at their apartment with many of Rhoda’s KFC co-workers. It was unclear if her boyfriend knew about the party or not. Ken was still at work when the party started. Partway through the party, Rhoda felt exhausted from a double-shift at work and the party planning and all. She went to her room to sit down and relax for a minute. Rhoda fell asleep. The party carried on without her. Ken arrived from work while Rhoda was still in the bedroom sleeping. She woke up to some commotion out in the party. Rhoda arrived back in the party just as Ken was stomping out of the apartment. She could not catch up to him. Ken drove off and she tried to followed him. When Rhoda picked me up, she was returning home after driving all over metro Detroit trying to find Ken. As she told me her story, she asked where I was headed. I told her Nine Mile and Evergreen roads and explained I was headed back to my college. I don’t recall how far out of her way she went or when she veered from her drive home. She took me all the way to Duns Scotus. I have had sadder rides but but probably not sadder and weirder. Rhoda pulled up to the sidewalk at the front doors to the chapel to drop me off. She profusely thanked me for listening so compassionately. She said, “You know, you’ve been so kind to me I want to give you something.” She reached over and opened the glove box and pulled out a book. Rhoda said, “I want you to have this — It changed my life.” She then handed me a copy of The Exorcist by William Blatty. Some day maybe I’ll read it.