They don’t remember the names.
How could they? Ann and Al Hill fostered about 100 girls, mostly teenagers, over nearly three decades. What they do remember, and in some cases what they will never forget, are the streets where the girls moved after they left.
Because they visited them.
Their daughters had gone off to college, and their home in Cincinnati felt empty. To the Hills, it wasn’t a big deal. To hear them tell it, bringing strangers into their home and caring for them – as if they were their own kids – was no more difficult than a trip to the grocery store.
This is what makes the Hills remarkable: They don’t think they did anything special.
Al is sitting near their front porch, soaking up the sunshine on one of Cincinnati’s first great days of spring. Hanging from the roof is a sign that says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.”
Not many people on their street are strangers to Al, but he waves to them anyway. When his wife steps outside, Al moves his chair up onto the porch in the shade. At 79, he has trouble walking. Ann is 78. Until last year, they were still fostering.
The two sit down next to each other holding hands for a photo, canes in between their legs. They’ve been married for 53 years.
Ann never really smiles, even though her daughter tells her to. It’s been a rough year. In August, their 46-year-old daughter Rhonda died after being diagnosed with cancer. Ann wears a necklace with her picture on it.
Al does most of the talking today, and most days, occasionally leaning over to his wife to check his memory.
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SOURCE: USA Today; Cincinnati Enquirer, Keith BieryGolick