From Primettes to Supremes
A Terrible Event
At first Diane and Mary were confused by Flo's disappearance. When they phoned her house, Flo refused to speak with them and her mother told the girls that Flo had decided to do other things. Neither Diane nor Mary could believe this, since Flo had been the founding member of the group. Flo was determined to make the Primettes a success, yet it seemed that she was ready to quit the group!
It was several weeks before Flo finally contacted the other girls. When they met in person, Diane and Mary were shocked that Flo seemed like a different person. Her usual bubbly energy was no longer there and she seemed deeply depressed. Diane and Mary begged Flo for details, and she finally told them the truth. After attending a sock hop with her brother, Flo got separated in the crowd and couldn't find her brother's car for the ride home. An acquaintance from the Brewster Projects pulled up in his car and offered her a ride. She accepted, even though she didn't know the man well. Before she knew it, he had driven to another part of town and had forced her into the backseat at knifepoint and raped her.
The experience broke Flo's spirit. The Ballard family closed in around her, protecting her from anything and anyone that might disappoint her. That included the Primettes. Over the following weeks, the girls began to rehearse again and Flo seemed to return to her old self. In their memoirs, though, both of Flo's singing partners remembered that she was never quite the same after the attack.