Keeper of the Family

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Suzi Dewsnap Terrell


I grew up in Needles California  during the early 1950's on Flora Vista where we had soap box derby's, played red rover,  built forts and explored the hills and gullies of the desert.  We had school carnivals with cake walks and pie contests.  We had 'slave day',  'senior sneaks' and the whole town turned  out for football games. I felt secure there.

We lived in a large housing development with the open desert just half a block away.  We were forever searching for any critters we could try and corral like turtles or lizards, but somehow they always managed to escape!

We played baseball in the streets plus tag and hide-n-seek till way past dark.   I remember one summer playing in the yard and cut my foot on a broken glass.  Our neighbor was a nurse and I think it must have been a weekend cuz Dr. Andes office wasn't open but she alerted him to meet us there.  His office was attached to the drug store so everyone sitting at the soda fountain that day was sorely serenaded by my screaming as I was sewn up!  



photos courtesy of Jamie Lucas of Needles

Our neighbor Roy had regular ice-cream socials where we'd take turns sitting on the old wooden hand cranked machine and wait patiently for it's contents to freeze.

Roy also made heavy cement blocks in his backyard and built 6' high fences around 4 or 5 of our homes.  One summer a mini tornado came up our street and picked up a large wooden 5x5x6' playhouse in one neighbors yard and hurled it into and smashing part of their block wall.  That same wind blew a trashcan lid into my Dad's head knocking him to the ground scaring us to pieces ... (we had just seen The Wizard of OZ and thought the wicked witch would get him!


I went to St. Ann's Catholic Church.  I remember my First Holy Communion ... the night before when I had to say my first confession, I think I made stuff up cuz I didn't know what to say.  After Father Hanley  gave me my penances  I promptly walked right out to join my friends in front of the church.  One of the nuns came out after me asking " did you forget to say your penances?".  Well I was horrified but I looked straight at her with all my friends looking on and said "yes sister I said them".  Well I knew I was going straight to hell that very day. When I woke the next I was so scared of going to communion ... I just knew Father would skip right over me and all would see me for the sinner I was.  I was so relieved when he placed that wafer in my mouth I almost bit his finger!!

The summer after 7th grade when I was 12, we moved to Escondido near the coast.  What a change!  I went from a small town where kids respected their teachers - to a very large class where the kids told the teachers off on a regular basis.  There were gangs of girls who hung out around the gym waiting until you undressed so they could throw you out and locked the doors. I was terrified of showering after PE and changed in the bathroom stall. The girls all had long straight blond hair and wore white lipstick ... I had natural curly brown hair and felt like a little desert rat that would never fit in.

I went to Orange Glen High which at the time was just 3 yeas old and considered the stepchild of the community.  When we beat the town favorite of Escondido High in football one year we went wild finally getting the recognition we deserved ;-)

worked for Sy and Lue Ennis at Orange Julius on Valley Parkway down the street from McDonalds on weekends and during the summer.  They took a shy young girl and gave her a chance to grow develop and learn.  They taught me so many things Ö not just how to take an order and follow it through, but they instilled a real work ethic in me that set the tone for the rest of my life.  They showed me how to handle people and trusted that Iíd take care of their business.   They instilled in me a sense of responsibility and pride in me of doing a good job.  They set a high standard and led by example.

I listened to their stories of all the different jobs Sy held from digging tile trenches to driving trucks to owning his own restaurants.  I marveled at how he didnít let doctors slow him down when they told him ďyouíll never work againĒ after his first heart attack at 27.  If only they could see him now!!  I would have loved to have seen their faces as they watched Sy paint his house with a 2 inch brush one summer a few years back when he was past 80 years old Ė theyíd of written him up in their medical journals!!   Whether they knew it or not they have always been a big part of my life and heart.  So many memories I have are centered on my time with Sy and Lue at Orange Julius.  They have truly made a huge difference in my life and I am very grateful they gave me that chance so long ago. 

My Guys



My Choice !

When I met Rick I was 18 and thought he was 22. When I found out he was 28 I almost canceled the wedding thinking he was too old!  We got married in Felicia Park on a glorious October day.  I planned on being like the Walton's and having at least 5 kids but was only blessed with one.  We lived by Conway School for a time on Esperanza Way until one vacation while visiting my brother in Portland, our lives changed.   We fell in love with the Great NW and have been here for over 30 years now.  We got into skiing, white water rafting and camping.  After a while we traded in our sleeping bags for a motor homes, but now let the tour companies do the work.



We had an antique business for about 12 years which we enjoyed immensely affording us a purpose to travel and meet lots of friends.  When life got in the way and we were forced to stop, I took refused in putting together this family web page.  I am drawn deeply to older people - always have ever since I was old enough to hang on my grandpa's knee and listen to his stories.  Chasing  ghosts is my way of honoring them, telling their stories and preserving their memory.  Along the way I get to connect with distant cousins and find people I grew up with ... which is just icing on the cake ;-)



I am a strong conservaliberal republicrate depending on the issue.  I am Catholic raised and loved their tradition of ceremony and piety ... until I out grew the rote responses and needed more than just mere faith for an answer.  I do believe in God ... just not sure about everything else.   I like the idea of reincarnation and coming back to get another shot at getting it right ... but donít fully believe in it.  I'm not sure about heaven ... it sounds boring to me, but  I do believe in Hell!  I think weíre all going through different phases of it in life.  I believe we each create our own heaven and hell during our lifetime.    

I donít believe in prayer, but I do believe in positive thinking.  I don't understand when disasters strike and someone says God answered their prayer when he saved their life, but others lose their whole family though they sought His help.  I just don't get it when someone says God answered their prayer for something trivial, but doesn't answer when someone else prays to save their child??




I also believe man in general Ö is no damn good.  He can and does most of the time, conveniently changes rules and beliefs to what ever he thinks is justified at the time.    Many have a conscience, but they can over ride it when itís not convenient to them.  Some men have a conscience and stand up for what is right Ö to a fault.  And a lot of the time, it proves little and changes nothing.

I am a Leo, strong full of heart, caring about others Ö but just donít get in my way when Iím on a mission Ö for I will not stop until itís done.   I donít believe in astrologist but do believe in astrology.  I believe in the science of the moon and stars, earths pull and gravity, but not to the point of consulting a chart before I walk out the door each morning.  I believe in the spirit world and try talking with them once in a while, but havenít succeeded so far.  I chase ghost Ö my passion is genealogy.  Some people ask why I care so much about dead people.  I tell them itís because they are a part of me Ö itís who I am.  I believe your mind has to be open to chance, change and coincidence Ė all the while listening to that little inner voice in each of us Ė and following its lead.  


Kidergarden 1957

1st Grade 1958

In this photo: Mike Owen, Suzi Dewsnap,  Albert Robinson, Denise Traylor,

Wendell Edmonds, Rick Kanipple, Denice Traylor, Kathy Dudley, Bernadette Kenna, Randy Lyon

2nd Grade 1960

In this photo: Albert Robinson, Irene Arizaga, Suzi Dewsnap, Kathy Dudley, Denise Traylor,

Gary Fraley, Irene McCord, Lucinda English, Greg Swain, Kent Priest, Sharon Swain, Virginia Hutchinson,

Linda Virden, Mary Gresham, Randy Lyon, Mike Owen, Mrs. Frances

4th grade 1962

In this photo: Christy Joy, Irene Arizaga, Ballita Richardson, Sam Landeros, Bobby Robinson,

Shelly Bradford, Denice Traylor, Janyce Kemp, Linda Virden, Irene McCord, Albert Robinson,

Jesse Villegas, Suzi Dewsnap, Donna, Gary Fraley, Katie Opinsky, Christine Roman, Bonnie Belt,

Wendell Edmonds, Priscilla Freeman


5th grade 1963

In this photo: Debbie Kernaghan, Bobby Robinson, Linda Virden, Wendell Edmonds, Becky Renfro,

Bernadette Kenna, Judy Wade, Christine Roman, Mike Owen, Kent Priest, Diane Andrade,

Suzi Dewsnap , Irene McCord, Owen Long, Gary Fraley, Wanda Dunham, Denise Bock,

Timothy, Mr. McCulagh


6th grade 1964

In this photo: Mike Owen, Pat Hunt, Melba Guerrero, Greg Swain, Irene McCord, Suzi Dewsnap,

Bobby Robinson, Jannie Anderson, Nannette Curry, Bernadette Kenna, Wendell Edmonds,

Cindy Niel, Timothy, Kathy Dudley, Mrs. Voorhees, Leonard McCord



Special Trips

Floatin on the Mississippi 2007

Alaska Cruise 2008

14 State Fall Foliage Trip 2009

Panama  City & Canal  2010

Fall Trip 2012


Spinning Yarns






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