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I just started a little alumni group on myspace. So far we have 2 :) members. It's specifically for people who stayed at Hillcrest Receiving Home in Southern California. If that's you then your welcome to join! Maybe you'll meet up with old friends! Or vent/reminisce a little.
Take Care!
My brother and I were at hillcrest in1983 or 84. I was about 8 or 9, my bother was about 13. I have also tried to get my records from hillcrest and they said there are no records of me being there. I was told that the kids there, before they switched over to computers, were lost because we were on paper records only. I would love to see the records. I remember the night we were taken in we had to speak with a counselor, and they wouldn't let me and my brother talk with them together. My brother went first so he knew what they would ask me. He came out he told me to lie about questions of being hit and abused by our mother because they wouldn't let us go home (we were young and scared). I always wondered what they wrote about us in that big folder. Lol
Just found this Forum and can't wait to come back and read everything that' y'all have written. Dennis, Oklahoma City, Jan 28, 2016
I was at Hillcrest in 1978 with my brother and two sisters. I remember hearing a lot about Hillcrest as a kid in San Diego. It was considered a very scary place synonymous with juvenile hall and that scared me a lot as I was basically a juvenile delinquent raising hell all over downtown San Diego. Our family were drifters who spent many nights in movie theaters, parks, "borrowed" abandoned buildings, etc. Well, we were living at the Blue Bell Motel on PCH when my mom and stepdad decided to move to Hawaii. When the welfare check came, they bought tickets and took off, but left us with a baby-sitter in Linda Vista. Ten kids in the baby-sitter's home, constant stream of men hooking up with two of the lady's daughters, and a lot of drug use and physical abuse. When she heard nothing from my parents in Hawaii, she reached out to my grandma in Seattle to have use taken off her hands, but it was too late. We were seized from the home by child services and went to Hillcrest.
HIllcrest was definitely institutional, but not as bad as I feared. The caretakers were nice. We when to a Padre game, movies, ice-skaingWe earned points by being good and helping out, so I was a kitchen helper and did my best to stay out of trouble. My sisters were sent to the younger unit, so I did not get to see them at all once we went to HIllcrest, so that was sad. I remember going to a small school there, but don't remember learning anything. I liked the playground, which overlooked the canyon. Very high fence. I also remember everyone asking, "What are you in here for?" Everyone talked about what had happened to them as if they were the ones who did the mis-deeds for which they were in the home. Child abuse, molestation, neglect, parents in jail, etc. For me it was "abandonment." Sad to know that kids take the blame for the shit their parents do, but I guess I did. I thought, if I had just been good, maybe my mom would have taken me to Hawaii, instead of dumping me off with the crappy baby-sitter.
We were at Hillcrest for a couple of months until Child Services found a foster home in Poway for all four of us. That would be another blog post, but they found my mother in Hawaii and charged her with abandonment. My step-father had taken off. After two years in the foster home, we went to live in Hawaii with her. Another long story, but two years later she took off again and we went to a foster home in Hawaii. Haven't heard anything from my mom since then.
This is my first time providing my email info to any online group but I came over on this website with Hillcrest Receiving Home friends and family and I was over whelmed with what I read.
My story (our story), my Brother and I (Don & Tom Maurer) was in Hillcrest Receiving Home for many months. I can't recall the dates or years but my closest guess is during 1970-1973. Saying that, we spend at least 9-12 months there at one time and 2-4 Months there after... We seen most every child that came in, go out to foster homes or back to their parents during our stay.
What I remember the most about Hillcrest was the share-rooms, bumper pool table, the point system and buying things from the closet. I loved to weave that plastic line together too. Making key rings? Can't remember the name of the stuff, but I enjoyed making things with it. You made like knots which turned into a rope like plastic. I don't think I have ever had a better Christmas in my life since being in Hillcrest. We received lots of toys. I was so surprised about the love of the San Diego Community for us kids. The place was all decked out with Christmas trees and lights. I'll never forget those memories so long as I live. I made MANY friends over the years there, with other kids and counselors. I can't recall their names, but every child there was treated fairly and loved. Even if we were locked in a bldg. I too remember looking over HWY 163 and hearing the jets take off from San Diego Airport (during the rainy days) and wishing I could be on one of them. I would think about trying to jump over the fence, but my Brother kept telling me that we'll find a home together. Don't worry. What a Brother he turned out to be. I miss him so much, but he committed suicide 10 years ago. I truly don't think he ever got over the years of when we were children and he always felt bad. Depression got him!
Beleive it or not, My Brother Tom and & ended up as Foster Children with one of the School Teachers from Hillcress Rec. Home. Her name was Elanor Chodos. She taught middle & high school students there. What a blessing it was to finally have a place to call home. I can't deny that their love was unconditional. They could relate to our situation, dealing with our problems. Best foster parents we had out of the 3-4 families we were part of. Her husband was the nicest person on earth. She was too, in her own way! " RIP" Elanor & Adolph Chodos. Great, great people!!!
For all of you who that may have known my Brother or I, I truly wish you all well and know that we all were much more luckier than children today when I look at the world today. It's so sad. Keep your Children close and NEVER let them down. Never put them in a situation like we had to deal with. Unconditional love is forever! Good or bad!!! Love them for who they are... Unconditional means just that. Don't let them down.
Take care and thanks for reading my memories of Hillcrest Receiving Home in San Diego, CA
Don Maurer
Rainbow Sheep...I sure did. I was there several times over a period of 3 years in the mid 1960's. I have to admit that I forgot all about this forum. I am going to come back here in a few days and share my story. Someone mentioned "Mama Simms," and I can say I definitely remember her, and Donna, and Jim Wilson, and the Secretary...Vicki. There are several others I can "visualize," but can't remember their names. As far as the "kids" go...I remember the Ruiz brothers and Barbara Glover, and their was little Donnie, maybe 6 years old, whom everybody loved. Need to call it a night. Take care. (Feb. 26, 2018, 10:30 PM)
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Hello. Gosh this thread began in 2006 and myspace no longer exists. I wonder if we started a group on facebook if that would be a place we could have a HRH alumni of sorts. I actually was a keynote speaker recently, and shared my experiences in foster care with a large group of teens. I came across this photo of the day I left Hillcrest Receiving home. My journey began there at the age of 2 when my mom left me in their parking lot, and it ended there at the age of 17 when I was able to contact her through a reunion service while living in Hillcrest for the umpteenth time. I have photos of many of my friends and the staff there, and letters as well as fond memories of the relationships I formed there with staff and kids alike. I was googling about Hillcrest because I am planning to be in San Diego and although I know it no longer exists, I thought it may be cool to bring my kids to where a huge part of my life story took place. I found this thread while I was googling it.
My First time there was in 1978-1979 and my last time there I was 16-17 and it was 1992-1993. I had several visits in between. I think it would be nice to have a group for us to share our experiences and connect. I did find a group on facebook but it was created in 2014 and no members or activity. I sent a join request to see what will happen.
If there is interest in creating a group, let me know how to invite you on facebook and I will create one :) If anyone has a better idea, I am happy to hear it!
Here is a photo of the day I left Hillcrest for the last time.
I have to say ! SO Happy I found this ! I too was at Hillcrest in San Diego from 78-79. So many memories. I NEVER thought I would ever find anyone who spent time there.
I would love so much to connect with those who had been there around the time I was there so please reach out.
Liane G.
This is absolutely great! I was turned onto this site by my "Home Study" worker as we are going through the process of becoming foster parents ourselves. I and my six siblings have such a LONG history w/ HRH. From 1973?-1981 So many memories! I don't know where to begin. The School that you only had to, maybe, do one page of problems then you got to sit in the been bag chair and read comic books. I still don't know all my times table! LOL There was a man from India who taught us how to use a checkbook. We also watched a movie in School that, even as a child I thought was inappropriate for kids, where a man lived in a remote cabin w/ his wife who died while he was away, he wrapped her body for burial and left it on the table overnight. During the night a mountain lion got in and he shot it. During the light of day he found that the lions paw was in his wife's mouth shot off! SMH The PRIZE CLOSET! I remember buying "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" shampoo? One time my brother, sister and I used all our points to buy b-day presents for our little brother that was in the "primary" unit. If you ran way you lost all your points. How about, seemed like hundreds of pairs, the red jeans w/ green frog on them?! I was there when the powers that be told "Mama" Simms that we could no longer call her that and she couldn't give us hugs anymore. Anybody else remember when there was a road kill deer donated. I worked in the kitchen then. I didn't eat meat for over a week just in case they served it! LOL Some of the staff..Marcia Bottoms Jim Height, (Former Charger) Mr Watson, Mr Wadson, (Tall, white haired older man. He once drug a teen boy by the collar up to the front bc he had tried to molest me) Tom? Skinny guy w/ long, thin, blond hair and a bad leg. Tony? He had real curly hair and used to play his guitar and sing to us on the field.So many times I ran into my siblings coming from other foster homes. At one point my older brother was there for 12 Months and I was for a little more than 13. At the time that was a record! The court clothes closet! When I was there at one time I broke my thumb when a boy hit a baseball as I came around the corner. Headed straight for my face. I deflected w/ my hand. I din't go to the Hosp. for two days until another kid was sick! BUT. That meant I got to go on field trips w/ the Seniors. I was an Intermediate. One of them was a fancy political dinner at the Marina. The saddest part for me was when I had my youngest there and he was locked behind the gate in Primary. We only got to touch him through the fence. Soooo much more I could bring up!! I spent more time there than an actual home! All in all it was a good experience.
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hello everyone I was at Hilcrest early 90s and I just started a facebook group, for those who were there from the late 80s early 90s, please join and share your story maybe some of you remember me, hope to see some old friends
My siblings and I were at Hillcrest in the late 80’s and early 90’s too. I’m starting to unpack and process all of my childhood traumas and I remember being at Hillcrest pretty clearly. I remember going to school in the classroom trailers and the strange feeling of being in a place where all the kids had the shared experience of being from rough/neglected/troubled homes. I remember attending the big Christmas party at a fancy hotel. I would love to connect with other people who share the Hillcrest experience
I remember Hillcrest Receiving Home. I think I was there from 1984-1988.
I remember CATC next door what used to Southwood RTC
I remember my School Teacher Susan Burris, A black lady named Ann, and both Linda Nicolas and Linda Poloski
It is hard to put into words what was going on with me at the time being just a child back then, but looking back it's amazing that I'm not more messed than I should be. Ha!
Came across this site today (5/12/2021), and noticed some familiar stories here. I also recall Mrs. Chodas. I along with my siblings were there in January thru February 1967. Some of my siblings were sent to various family friends for a time while myself and younger brother stayed for an entire month.
Along with Mrs. Chodas, I also recall the point system (bonus points for making your bed correctly), the closet to use your earned points for toys (I think I got a plastic model). I also have many bad memories of that time, both personal but as well as from the staff and other kids while we were there. There was hazing, and some very disturbed individuals, like that "Mr. Chicken" mentioned in an earlier posting (a later posting I may describe how he got his nickname).
Some of the practices by the staff for examples, as brothers on the boys side, none of us were allowed to share the same bedroom and were then split up with other kids - not a good experience given our drama of the time (I read about the brother above who committed suicide). I also believe there was staff abuse, while not widespread, but that did happen, especially to some of the young boys and girls.
There are smells and songs that bring me back to that awful period and I believe it has had a lasting impact to my life.
I recently requested records from the County but was told there were none "to be found." I think some of this may have hit the shredder. Wish I could do the same with my memories.
I will come back and post more items here but would love to hear from others.
Last update on May 12, 1:40 pm by Doug Meyer.
hello everyone I was at Hilcrest early 90s and I just started a facebook group, for those who were there from the late 80s early 90s, please join and share your story maybe some of you remember me, hope to see some old friends
Hey Eddie,
What’s the name of the group? I was there in early 90s think 92-94. I was in CATS for a year or so and never adopted or taken into a foster home. I’d like to catch up with some old friends. Heck they were practically the only family I had.
- Rosalynn (Misty)
My siblings and I were at Hillcrest in the late 80’s and early 90’s too. I’m starting to unpack and process all of my childhood traumas and I remember being at Hillcrest pretty clearly. I remember going to school in the classroom trailers and the strange feeling of being in a place where all the kids had the shared experience of being from rough/neglected/troubled homes. I remember attending the big Christmas party at a fancy hotel. I would love to connect with other people who share the Hillcrest experience
Hi! I was there in the late 80s with my sister then again in early 90s by myself. I don’t remember fancy Christmas parties at hotels but do recall having “parties” at the center. I’d love to connect with others as well.
P.S. anyone remember La Rae and Desiree?
- Rosalynn (Misty)