I returned to Geneva on an “ID Status” and went straight to Maple cottage. I was amazed at how much Geneva had changed since I left over two years before. I once again occupied another small pink room, however; personal clothes were allowed to be worn. I could keep my journals in my room without having to hide them. I could wear jewelry and hair ties, have posters on my wall and I heard there were dances with the boys from St. Charles at the gym.

As bad as I hated Geneva I hated myself more for returning. I met with my counselor and was told it was my foster parent’s request I return for behavioral modification. When I asked how long I was going to be there she said “that depends on you and them.” Each week my foster parents came to see me and wrote me often. I always met them with a smile begging to go home. My letters were cheerful but filled with pleas to go home. I hated being locked up!

Three days after arriving on Maple Cottage. A group of four girls were brought back from Oak Cottage after a “crack up”. Four of the roughest girls I had ever seen. Lucy, Deana, Mona, and Shy. I remember how quiet the dining room got when they were escorted to their tables. Lucy looked over at me and said “Miss T ya better make that new bitch quit looking at me or I’m going to.”

That night in the rec room Lucy walked over to where I was sitting and said to me “you think you smart, don’t you?” I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she asked “what you in here for?” Before I could answer a black girl stepped in and said “she be here three times don’t ya ‘member her?” It was Smokey with the red rag removed from her head and her hair in geri curls. Lucy backed off.

I told Smokey I was sorry for sticking my fork in her arm and she showed me the four little pinpoint scars the fork had left. Smokey told me Crow was back and pregnant for the second time. Smokey and I had bonded.

I worked in the BP washing hair and cleaning up when Molly walked in one day chatting away about getting paroled again. This time to a foster home in Carol Stream, Illinois. In Geneva we couldn’t touch another girl, but when I saw Molly I ran up to her and hugged her. At first she didn’t know who I was and it took a few seconds for her to recognize me, but she did. I had so much to tell her, but as I washed her hair I let Molly do what she does best, talk while I listened.

This trip to Geneva was hard, but not nearly as hard as the past two were. This time I had a family that cared enough to come see me and write me. After six weeks I was returning to my foster parent’s home in Herscher, Illinois.

I never returned to Geneva again and was discharged from parole a year later. I never spoke of Geneva but often wrote about it and the girls in my journal.

Today, I ask myself what I learned from being in Geneva. I’d have to answer, “if I was ever to run again I know to run faster and further than I did at twelve.”

BTW, not all the rooms in Geneva were pink.