I remember Hope, Faith and Wallace Cottage. I also remember The Unit, solitary confinement. There was a young girl in Geneva who had gone on a killing spree with her boyfriend that was there but she was kept on Oak. A few of the matrons, Mrs. Byrd and Momma Ross were kind and caring. I was released a year later after I had completed the beauty school training (my mother insisted I take that probably because she knew it was a 9 month course and I wouldn’t be around the house). She had me released to her and my step father because my grandfather had died and she wanted me to be at the funeral. I pleaded with my counselor, Mrs. Koontz and also with Mrs. Knickman (?) not to let me go because my step father was abusive but their hands were tied. I spent two weeks out, got picked up for curfew and was returned to the school. I told them they made a big mistake and they actually agreed with me.

My father later got word of where I was and managed to get custody of me. I was 17-1/2 at that time and it was the best Christmas present I could get when he picked me up on 12/26. He later got my brother from St. Charles. I had lost the last years of my high school life, did get to be a beautician (only did it for a few years) but never had to live with my mother again. I never had anyone abuse me physically or sexually there and for the most part it was just an existence. I hated it there though, I hated my mother and step-father and I prayed ever night my dad would find me.

I felt cheated out of some of my childhood. There were a lot of girls from inner city Chicago that needed to be there but none of them deserved to be treated so harshly. You can attract more bees with honey than vinegar but Geneva wasn’t really there to help the girls. If you were bad you were considered bad forever. If you were a victim of parents not wanting you then you had a hard time because you had no street smarts like the tough girls did. I remember names of girls but didn’t see any of them in your site.

My loved ones already know what I went through and the ones that are still alive (I’m 63) still feel they didn’t do enough to help my brother and I. I have gone on to do quite well and live a very happy life. I have two children, three grandchildren, several granddogs, a wonderful husband and a good job as a legal assistant. I have never gone into depression over my time at Geneva and have not let the past rule me. I moved on but when I had my own children and they became teenagers I was more tolerant than my mother had been.