I am "Jenny" as referred to by Onjya in "The Devils Drop Out".
I tried to post this on your blog in response to the thread speculating who the "Jenny" was who Onya had written about in her book. It would not post but just keep asking for me to do the capcha over and over so sending it to you via email instead.
I can clear up who "Jenny" is because I am here. Also, the Duarte house was not rented by TJ or anyone else. It was being purchased by friends of mine, a married couple (since divorced)whose names I will leave out because I am sure they don't want this stuff dug up after all these years.
"Onjya's" memories (from what I just read here, never knew she had written a book (sort of hard to imagine; I knew her very well and she was not...well, let's say "the literary type")
I don't recall when I brought them to the Duarte house - may have been late at night since we kept pretty loose hours and there was usually more important things to do during the day. So, if it was late night, it wasn't because of anything other than it being a convenient time.
Yes, it was true that the entire family was there a good part of the time. However, it wasn't the dark place "Onjya" describes (other than when TJ, Clem and Bruce were around, which was rarely) And, of course, when TJ ate from the dirty diaper. That did happen. But, for the most part, we sat around embroidering on the vests, went dumpster diving, cooked, sang, played - a lot like children - dyed our clothes in desert colours..smoked a little pot (not all that much) Ironed court clothes and there was always running around re the trial. Oh and sharpened our buck knives and ground the hinge down with grinding compound so they would flick open easily.
I was not with the family very long before inviting "Onjya", Chuck and baby along. I had pretty much missed out on knowing anything about the murders - I had been on the road, doing the PNW apple-picking scene with my boyfriend. We lived in picker camps and I didn't read newspapers then. Boyfriend and I broke up and I went to see my friends in Duarte for comfort and a place to stay for a while. When I got there, they were the only ones home but told me that "some friends" of their's "ranch had burned down and they needed a place to stay so they were staying there, too" - and that I would really like them. It was probably a week of - yes, really liking them - before it was divulged to me who they were. Initially it was all presented as "false accusations" but then, over time...although nothing was ever admitted to me (I was a late comer and never fully accepted), I pretty much caught on. But, by that time I loved most of these people and, hard for me to admit now, there was a time when I would have done *anything* for and with them - but, thanks to all gods and goddesses, I was never asked.
No, neither Joey (that's the name I knew her as) or Erutan (we thought it a stupid name then,too) were much liked. They were airheads. They were only in Duarte house - at most a week - before they were sent off to the cave (and a quite comfy cave, too - fireplace, door, window - near a stream in a lovely location). A week or so later, my married friends and I joined them - along with Dennis' kids - and we hung out there for another week or so. Then my married friends, Dennis' kids and I went off to another mountain location (one which I have never seen written about) and stayed there a couple of weeks with the kids. By the time I got back to Duarte, "Onjya" and her husband and baby were gone from the cave, too, and had not returned to the Duarte house. I can't say for sure as it has been too many years, but Onjya was probably not at the Duarte house or with the family for more than a week. Sounds like she capitalized on that week though.
Last time I talked with her was - a year or so later (?) She had gone off the deep end, had created a story about her little girl having been born deformed or with some deadly illness and somehow saved by a miracle. All bs. Her daughter was fine when I knew her. I lost interest in having further contact with her and we never crossed paths again - until here, tonight, reading about her in this forum.
There was never any paper signed giving her daughter to the family. She and Erutan took her when they left and that was the last contact they had with the family that I know of.
Sometime just before the big earthquake in Saugus, I was out at Barker Ranch with the kids - Dennis', a toddler daughter of one of the family (I seem to recall the dad was Tex but that could be wrong) and a few months old infant boy named "G" (not sharing his name)along with Bo. It was just me, Bo and the kids for a couple of weeks. We mostly played with the kids and hiked around with them. Yes, they were fed very well. No, they were not cleaned very well. But they seemed happy. I loved Dennis' kids and, until tonight when I read that they turned out well, always wondered and worried about them over the years.
I really bonded with that baby boy. I was his primary caretaker; he slept in my arms at night.
Being away from the main core of the family and Bo being pretty quiet, I started to realize that there was something very wrong with staying with the family and began to really believe that they had committed crimes and that there was no justification for them. I started to feel a little fear.
One night, when it was late and quiet, I listened to the distant hum of traffic from a highway that was not visible from the ranch. A couple of days later, I strapped on a bota-bag of water, but the baby in the papoose carrier, grabbed a bottle of milk for him, and told Bo that I was taking G out for a walk.
I remember regretting that I couldn't take Charlie's Martin with me as I had it with me and played on it a bit - but that might have made Bo suspicious.
I hiked out all day until I reached the highway and hitched a ride to my sister's house near Saugus.
My plan was to take baby G, go somewhere and pretend he was mine and raise him. All I had been told was that "his parents gave him to us" by the family so I thought he would not be missed. I told my sister I was just watching him for a friend of mine (she had had no idea I had been with the family during this time)
And then the earthquake happened and I was pretty much stuck at my sister's for a while. And then G got sick and we had to take him to a doctor...and finally I told my sister the truth.
I called a social worker friend that I trusted and arranged to hand over G to him - and he was able to tell me that G's parents had gone back to the family to get him while we were at Barker but, supposedly, they told the parents that they had no idea who they were talking about and they had no child of theirs.
From what I was told, the parents then reported that the family may have killed their child - I heard (through the grapevine) that this is what brought the raid down on Barker where Dennis' kids were - and that toddler girl - that they were looking for G's body. And I was also told that the family wanted to talk to me - and it did not sound like it would be a friendly chat so I pretty much went into hiding.
Now I read they were looking for a runaway girl who was there. She wasn't there when I was but...who knows what came down after I left? It was NOT Joey's daughter - I am pretty sure of that - unless, in the time (relatively short) after I left Barker and the ranch was raided, somehow Joey had taken her daughter to the family. Does not seem likely but I do not know for sure, of course.
So, that's it. Seems like a lifetime ago for me and it nearly has been. It took me a couple of years to feel like I was finally separated from all that I had become and the perceptions I had adopted while with the family (I still spouted their rhetoric during that time and believed it, even if I did not believe in them as I once had) This is a phase of my life - and a relatively short one - that I have some fond memories of and that I have some shame for - not because I (thankfully) ever did anything criminal, but because no one really understood how I could love some of these people - there was no way to talk to anyone about that time without them starting out with and staying with their well-deserved negative judgments about the family.
I never thought I would see my name and my (minimal) involvement with the family anywhere in print. I'll have to find a copy of Joey's (surely ghost-written) book and will probably have a few laughs over it. It sounds more like a fantasy than real-life account.
Oh and I am pretty sure that Clem molested Dennis' daughter. It made me sick even at the time to see him crawl into her sleeping bag at night and I have worried about her ever since and was relieved when she was returned to her mother and out of that situation. Maybe he just cuddled her - but.....
All the Best...
Jenny Responded to the on-blog questions (via email) as follows:
Sorry but I work more than full-time and cannot engage in this discussion and my recollections that are now 41 years old and only from such a relatively small part of my life (6 mos max) surely are not all that valuable nor are they necessarily all that accurate after this time.
Maybe it was not Barker ranch where I was at the end, until I left. When I looked at some old photos yesterday, the pics of Barker looked familiar. Lancaster house? Maybe. Name sounds familiar but I think that I had been there one time earlier and, if so, the last place I lived with the family was Barker. ... Look, when I was taken to both the mountain hide-away (and yes, I think it was somewhere in the loose vicinity of Arrowhead) and when taken to the Barker (?) ranch, I was told to put my head down so that I could not see out the windows to gauge where I was going - and thus I did not. (Obviously, I was not a trusted member of the inner circle.) And this is why, when I decided to leave, I had to listen for the traffic at night to figure out which way to walk out when I did go.
Yes, the kids where there with Bo and I when I left. As I said, I think this was at Barker.
CSD gave me a polaroid of baby "G" when I left him with them. I still have it. For a while, I thought he was going to be "my" son - and so I still think and care about him and hope he's had a lovely life.
When I dropped "G" off, my social worker friend who facilitated this told me that all the kids had been picked up and that, at that time, they were in foster care or at a CSD shelter or such (I do not recall which) and no, I could not have contact with them (I asked if I could). Maybe this is how I initially thought that the family thought that the raid there was somehow my fault.
I had not given anyone info on the location (like I said, I really did not know it) - all I did was tell my friend about "G", how I got him, and that I could not care for him. I was not interrogated by anyone about location or anything else. I was just told that his parents had wanted him back, went to the family and they told them that they had no idea what baby they were talking about.
I always assumed that these parents' quest for "G" was what provoked the raid and that me coming forward to relinquish him was afterwards by a very short time.
"G" was not Onjya's daughter. He was definitely a boy and Onjya definitely had a daughter.
Why do the reports I read last night about the raid say that the raid took place because of the search for a runaway minor female? Who was she? Must have come (or been sent there) after I left.
The cave (singular) was just outside of Lone Pine. West of it, as I recall.
Onjya (I knew her as "Joey" first) and I both grew up in the same S Calif city. I don't recall now if we met for the first time in Hollywood or if we ended up going to Hollywood a lot together because we already knew each other. We hung out in Hollywood a lot (Sunset Strip). Then I got tired of the city scene and moved to a commune in Joshua Tree. I moved away from Joshua Tree for a while and then back again later. When I moved back, Onjya had moved there, too. So we had shared histories in our home town, Hollywood and Joshua Tree. I do not remember if I ran into her in Joshua Tree or in the city when I told her she should "meet these people" and made arrangements for her to come to Duarte house. This was all such a long time ago...
No, I never met Charlie because I had no ID at the time and would need it to get in. But that did not stop me from feeling a deep attachment to him and idolizing him, and buying into the story about the revolution about to come down. I lived among those who worshiped him and spouted "Charlie says..." constantly. I loved (some of) these people. I believed in their belief. All very text-book cult stuff really.
Re Bruce and Clem. All I can tell you is that I felt terribly uncomfortable - fearful - around them when I was not when around anyone else in the family. Nothing that they "did" - I just got the hit that they had absolutely no moral compasses - that they were capable of unremorsefully doing just about anything and that, to me, they were unpredictable.
I was a shy young woman who had just had my personal life turned up-side-down by the break-up from my first real love. I had returned to Joshua Tree to find the house I had been renting taken over by a huge group of people I did not know. I went to stay with friends in Duarte and found myself living with a group of people who said a lot of things that made deep sense to me intermingled with things that were totally alien to my own thinking. But they BELIEVED and I liked (most) of them tremendously and how they truly had rebuked the system and beliefs that often hold us down and diminish us. Lines got blurred. Love and fear. Trust and mistrust.
It was a potent personal experience but not for the reasons most people might assume. It helped me become who I am while, at the same time, had the potential to destroy me and others. And, as I said before, it left me floundering for a long time afterwards because I HAD believed so deeply and it was more than difficult to reconcile the love and trust with the fear and mistrust. I could not return to who I had been "before", I could not remain who I had been while with them, and it took a long while to reconcile that and become on my way to who I am today.
But, to those of you who are spectators from afar, looking into dusty windows, you will never understand really and it seems the information you seek is not really anything I can provide. I did not - and do not - analyze any of that experience beyond the personal. And, besides to me and those close to me, who gives a rip about that? :D
Maybe you have it posted somewhere here, but, if so, I have not seen it - but I wonder why you all are so interested in sussing all this out? It was a long time ago. It was a time and situation that ended up with a lot of people hurt badly - irreparably for some - both those who were murdered and those who took part in the murders. I only hope that time heals all those who survived, one way or the other.
It seems many of those who were deeply involved (and whose stories certainly have more significance than mine) have "found Jesus" or moved on with their lives, or a few still cling to Charlie and are waiting for the revolution. These are the people you should talk to or observe.
And if anyone has contact with Mary Brunner, give her my best and tell her that I am glad Pooh Bear turned out a happy young man that looks so very much like her.
I asked Jenny, the following question, via email last night:
"Are you by chance, the same Jenny, who phoned-in to the Paul Watkins interview years ago?".
Nopes. The only call I made was in....approximately 1992....to the prosecuting attorney (cannot recall his name now but was put in contact with him when I tried calling Bugliosi's office) to tell him about the time that Clem woke me up close to dawn when we were at the "other" mountain hideaway that I have read no one mentioning, and had me follow him and help bury a machete under a tree. I did not ask questions (one did not ask Clem questions) and I worried for years that this had been used in a murder. So I called to reveal this.
I do not know even know about the call-in to a Watkins interview - or the interview itself. All this was such a long time ago and I have a rich and full life. Just had some time tonight and decided to see if there was still anything online about the family....
By the way, I gave the information and was asked to call back in a few days. When I did, I was told that there were no murders suspected by family members where a machete had been used and he suggested that it was a 'test' to see how I would respond. Who knows? Maybe. It still bothers me.