The Real “Arnold Friend” Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? tells the story of a young girl named, Connie, who is trying to grow up faster than her friends. This 15-year-old girl is portrayed by author, Joyce Carol Oates, as a seductive girl, only caring about herself. Connie seemingly lives a double life between her family and friends, which in the end, gets her in to trouble. The short story, which was originally published in 1970, is read by thousands of college students each year. At the end of the story, students are left wondering what happens to Connie. Was she taken by the story villain, Arnold Friend, or was it all a dream? Most readers are not aware that, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, was essentially written about real life serial killer, Charles Schmid, who was known for preying on teenage girls and taking three of their lives. After Schmid made headlines in the 60’s, Oates was inspired to write the short story from the point-of-view of a potential victim. Charles Schmid was born on July 8, 1942 and was adopted by Charles and Katharine Schmid in Tucson, Arizona. His adoptive parents owned the Hillcrest Nursing Home, which is where Schmid spent most of his childhood years. As he grew older he was known for living dangerously and not caring what other people thought about him. As a teenager, he grew to hate his father. As a student, Schmid often raced through assignments and had little concern for education. In high school he excelled at gymnastics, leading his school to the State Gymnastics Championship in 1960. He then dropped out of school his senior year because he claimed to have had “hallucinogenic or psychic power, seeing things in his mind before they occurred”. He said, “I’d shut my eyes and everything would seem logical, so I’d do it.” After leaving high school, Schmid purchased a new car and a motorcycle with his $300 allowance he was given each month. He spent most of his time on the Speedway, picking up girls and drinking. Appearance of a serial killer. Schmid was known for having a unique appearance. He wore make-up to make his skin look darker and often applied Chapstick to make his lips seem bigger, much like the character Arnold Friend. When Connie is first checking out his appearance she notices that his jaw, chin and cheeks are slightly darker, even though she blames his lack of shaving. Friend’s eye lashes also looked “thick and black as of painted with a black tarlike material”. Throughout Connie’s encounter with Friend, she repeatedly mentions his boots and how it seems like his foot isn’t all the way in them, “He had to bend and adjust his boots. Evidently his feet did not go all the way down; the boots must have been stuffed with something so that he would seem taller.” Charles Schmid was known for his boots. He had special made black laced boots that laced all the way up the back, with a cowboy heel and pointed toe. He would stuff them to make himself look taller. The Victims Schmid went out with many girls, unfortunately three never returned home. His victims have many similar qualities as Connie. The first victim was 15-year-old Alleen Rowe. Rowe was a sophomore in high school at the time of her death in May1964. She had become friends with
Mary French, who happened to be dating Charles Schmid at the time. Rowe had just moved to Tucson and had developed a love for the dessert. Rowe had blonde hair and blue eyes. The night of Rowe’s death, Schmid had been heard saying he wanted to kill someone. After picking up Mary French, Schmid and his friend John Saunders waited for Rowe’s mother to leave before approaching her house. After convincing her to get into the car they drove off to the dessert and that was the last time anyone ever saw Alleen Rowe alive. After Rowe’s death in May, Schmid’s best friend was replaced by Richie Bruns. By July 1964, Schmid had noticed a 16-year-old girl swimming at the Speedway. Her name was Gretchen Fritz and she too had blonde hair. She had a reputation for getting into trouble and was considered the misfit of her family. Schmid as so intrigued by Fritz that he went to her house pretending to sell pots and pans to get her attention. The two soon began dating after their initial interaction and eventually he proposed to Fritz with a ring. What she didn’t know, at the time of saying yes, was that Schmid was also engaged to two other girls, Mary French and Darlene Kirk. When Fritz found out about Schmid being with other girls she confronted him and over time became somewhat of a pest to him. Just over a year later, Schmid made his move. Fritz and her 13-year-old sister went to see the latest Elvis Presley movie, Tickle Me, on August 16, 1965. Their father, who happened to be a doctor, hired a private detective to find them, after they didn’t come home that night. Fritz’s car was discovered at the Flamingo Hotel with her valuables still inside. Gretchen and her sister, Wendy were never seen again. The three girls Charles Schmid admitted to killing have many similar traits to Oates’ character Connie. All three girls were young teenagers ranging in age from 13 to 16-years-old. Connie, much like victim number one, Alleen, liked to hang out with older people, which got them into trouble in the end. All girls were blonde haired and blue eyed. Connie was blonde haired and Arnold Friend mumbled about her having blue eyes. Gretchen Fritz was considered an outcast and a misfit who didn’t get along with her family. Connie has multiple tiffs with her mom and her sister throughout the story. Convicting a Killer After the death of Gretchen and Wendy Fritz, private detective, William Helig, questioned both Richie Bruns and Schmid. After a few months, Bruns became overwhelmingly guilty and confessed everything. On November 10, 1965 Schmid was doing yard work on his lawn while police came to arrest him. At the police station, Schmid was ordered to take off his boots because he was so much shorter. After taking them off, police officers filled up two boxes with the rags, empty beer cans and pieces of cardboard found in Schmid’s boots. After standing two trials, the first for the death of the Fritz’s sisters and then Mary Rowe’s death, Schmid received the death penalty for the first trial and 50 years to life for the other. After a few failed escape attempts, Schmid briefly managed to escape the Arizona penitentiary for a short while before being recognized by a former classmate. During this time, Arizona shortly outlawed the death penalty, which meant Schmid would serve his life sentence. Schmid was eventually jumped by a few prisoners, who stabbed him over 20 times on his face and chest. Schmid died in the hospital 10 days later on March 30, 1075.