Jan’s Journals

Here’s a peek at me through the lens of journal entries I made starting at age nine. I am inviting you into my stories because I think you may see yourself at different ages.. You’ll see what I was like then, and maybe see how you were then too. And hopefully you can see your own evolution as time goes by.

I chose these two journal entries to show how much I trusted my abuser, long before he ever began abusing me. In fact, my parents, sisters and I all had a friendship with my abuser’s wife and their five kids too. I spent many afternoons at their home, playing with the kids or doing crafts with his wife. Before any of us could have possibly known, my abuser was laying a foundation of trust with all of us, which would later become his most valuable tool to exploit me.

Journal Entry, February 21, 1973, age ten.

“Tonight the Berchtolds came over, well four of them. The three little ones stayed home. We all watched TV. I gargled with salt water and then went to bed. I am sick.”

Journal Entry, February 22,1973.

“Today I feel quite a bit better. I stayed home from school, though. Brother Berchtold and I had a good talk, just all about life and some very special things. At night, my parents and Brother and Sister Berchtold went to the temple. Ann babysat us and Caroline and Tina stopped by and gave me a little cactus they had bought for a get-well present. It was nice.”

Journal Your Journey

As you read my journal entries, did anything come up for you? Were there things you could relate to? Did you start to think back on past experiences and wonder if you were also being groomed? If any thoughts come up for you, you would be surprised by how helpful it can be to write them down. If you haven’t already started journaling your thoughts, I highly recommend starting now. Even if you write just one paragraph, that’s a great start! Journaling is a tested tool people have been using for centuries to heal. We humans are born storytellers. Journaling helps us make sense of what we’re going through. I swear by journaling. Writing down my stories has been one of the most powerful things I’ve done to make sense of what happened and to mo


ve forward. I hope you’ll take this advice to heart. No need for anything fancy. Start with any notebook or even your computer. Just be sure to keep it in a safe place.

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Celebrating 50 years of “Little House” Recently Jan was invited to attend and participate in the “Little House on the Prairie” 50th Anniversary and Cast Reunion in Simi Valley, California. It was a marvelous event and Jan was able to reminisce with cast members and fans alike about the huge impact the show had on her as a child, surviving abuse and multiple kidnappings. The iconic show first aired in 1974, just a few months before Jan was abducted. Before and after her kidnappings, Jan and…