Suzanne Morrill and Katie Morrill

Recorded June 24, 2010 Archived June 24, 2010 01:18:21 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFB000867


Suzanne Morrill (50) and her daughter Katie Morrill (24) talk about their relationship, their favorite family memories and sing a family song.

Subject Log / Time Code

Suzanne’s favorite memories of being a mother- quitting work to spend more time with her daughter.
Suzanne had many homeless people who would come live with her family and sleep in the back yard. They recall some of these people.
Christmas memories of being at Grandma’s house and going on river rafting trips.
The questions Suzanne has for God.
Memories Suzanne has from her childhood: sticking fireworks in cow patties and waiting until they exploded.
Suzanne’s favorite memories of Katie as a child: her curiosity.
Katie says what she appreciates about her mothers style of parenting.
They sing their favorite family song.


  • Suzanne Morrill
  • Katie Morrill

Recording Location

San Francisco StoryBooth


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00:03 My name is Katie Isabel moral and I'm 24 years old and today's date is June 24th of 2010 and we are here in San Francisco. And I'm going to be talking to my mom. I guess my relationship is I am my mother's daughter. I'm Suzanne Morgan Murrell. I'm 50. Today's date is June 24th, 2010. I'm in San Francisco and I am the mother of Katy.

00:34 All right. Well since this is your Mother's Day gift, I wanted to start off with a another question for you because I think that that I said outside that I think that really defines who you are. Do you group that I do I've always I think the most important thing in my life is or if I wanted to be remembered as something it would be as a mother.

00:59 Even even though I've only been able to have when one child it still has been.

01:07 The greatest thing

01:10 I know that about you and I actually one of the questions on there was what did you always envision your life being and I thought it was kind of an unnecessary question cuz I know that it was being a mom, but I wanted to know what was one of your favorite moments about being a mom not just for me, but you're a mom for like the whole neighborhood and for all my friend and for your 4th grade students that you teach. So what's one of your favorite moments, you know, I think I would have to say it was when you

01:46 We're in high school. I decided to quit working actually then which I think is a little bit odd that I think most women would stop working when their children are in high school, but for some reason I felt that that was what I should do. And so I stopped and I was able to go on all of the field trips that the choir kids went on behalf of art that has the most fun just to be a part of your life.

02:22 I think at a time when it's pretty important actually in those teenage years that a teenager has mom who is available and wants to be a part of their life and thinking this you wanted to be a part of mine then to you know, I don't I don't think that you thought I was too stuffy or to know you are always the fun. Mom everyone wanted to come to our house and I actually even after I left for college people are still coming over and hanging out that I start Hotel. I mean even today we just hang out with one of my friends and she wanted to hang out with you. So I don't know that I ever told you this but I wanted to thank you for that because I know that that wasn't easy. It's not a popular decision to make but I think it was the right one. You're welcome. It was

03:09 It was a great time for me. Probably probably one of the best times that I will always remember all those high school years and all of the kids and going on those trips with the choir and it was great how you helped me get get out of bed in the morning to early morning Bible study early morning Seminary classes. So I owe that the he was well, give me a new chauffeur. Yeah, and then you know that I just am thinking of this right now, but I I know that when you left for college

03:44 That was a hard thing for me. Not not to have you around cuz I really got wrapped up in being that Mom and that became such a part of my identity, but then there was an opportunity for me to kind of take on that identity with another person. I'm just thinking about Ashley right now and how

04:07 Yes, she just happened to walk into church one day and I don't know why but I looked at her and I thought I'm supposed to get to know this girl and I did and she was having some really hard things going on in her life. And as she started to tell me about that that very first day I said you need to come in and live with me and I was married at the time and and my husband was not real happy about that cuz he said you don't even know her and I said you're right. But but you did I know I felt that way and so Ashley became a part of our family for a year and that was that was a wonderful opportunity. So, you know, I guess being a mother is something you're right that I have done for a long long time and continue to do with all those children then

05:03 Yeah, that's some of my greatest memories soon. As I remember how we had homeless people living in our backyard. I want to play through tents and that's why is and I think that that's one of the I don't know one of the finest memories that I have cuz I don't I don't think most people

05:23 Can say that about their family or their childhood? We were always I mean, I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but we were always taking in Strays but that was animals or people who needed a place to be and I feel like we're we learned so much from that. Yeah, you know, I think we we did it because they needed us, but we needed them to agree.

05:43 Talk about some of those people. What was what was the guy's name from Hawaii?

05:52 I can't think of his name but there was this guy from Hawaii. How did we even get to know him? I don't know how we first.

06:01 I just have these memories of him in the kitchen. I think that that was sort of his me away that he liked paid us back was was that you cook for us in the nanny, like he took me to movies and stuff. He would make this chicken know it was his famous Hawaiian. He called it his famous Hawaiian chicken ginger chicken. Do we saw that recipe? I mean, I want ya I learned it from him. I made that in a while. Yeah, I don't remember his name good. I don't know why I don't remember his name, but he ended up living with us for almost a year. Yeah, he sort of wondering what's happened to him took off in strange circumstances, you know, when you live a desperate life, I think it's difficult to get away from that even when people are helping you.

06:51 Yeah, actually he had problems in his life and and

06:57 We are very trusting to have him come in and and leave you with him to and he never ever did anything wrong while he was in our house or are with you. But when he left then his life went back. He took me to the first X-Files movie and I remember being really excited about that. That was pretty cool. And then the power went out. That's that's what I remember. I remember a lot of memory day and it was really suspenseful. You're having all the brown outs in California. Yeah. I don't remember there was another guy that was living there at the same time to they didn't get along well know because I think what happened was there was two of them living and then he moved into the house after the other guy left living out in the tent in the backyard.

07:48 Yeah, he didn't like him. I remember him at all though. They got pretty defensive.

08:01 So can I ask you a question of course and maybe you've covered this but what what would be your best childhood memory?

08:12 Well that stuff I mean

08:15 My happiest childhood memories really with you and dad. Anyways really revolve around like when we were in the car and singing together or anytime we were singing together. We were like the the three of us together for the baptism singers and you guys were then the wedding singers, and I'm the funeral singer now, but I think we we really really got along really well when we were seeing together. Thank you. Just have to

08:43 When you're doing that, especially we always singing Harmony together wasn't right. If you know that was always the real we can never sing on the same part so he had to learn quicker or die. So but I think when you do that, you have to be selfless.

08:59 When you're when you're involved in.

09:02 And singing together because you have to you have to blend you have to harmonize amended it is the word I guess Harmony you're striving for that. And so I think that that's one one of my happiest memories but in general definitely Christmas at Grandma's house. I didn't know that sounds cheesy, but I think we have Christmas down the corner market on Christmas because I mean we have those crazy family tradition. So we always do the the great candy Caper and the the river rafting trip one what to talk about that one. Well, I'll talk about the river rafting one. That was I mean, we're all gathered together. We always open our Christmas presents.

09:45 On Christmas Eve, he wants to each other anyways, and then Santa comes on Christmas. And so we were opening our presents as usual and the Very orderly manner that is demanded and one person before I was the great organizer for that thing in it. But yeah, so we were doing that and I think we were pretty engrossed and you know, give each other gifts cuz that's what makes Christmas so fun and pretty quickly here this like really large but outside and ice cream.

10:17 And I remember all the kids cuz the kids are pretty young because we are for the young at this point. I was probably like 12 there was just dead silence and I think that some of the adults must have been in on it because grandma don't remember her freaking out if she knew she probably would have and so my uncle very slowly goes maybe we should go see what's going on outside. And so everyone kind of got up and went outside and he opened the door and in Grandma's front porch stabbed with a knife with this The Scroll of paper that was like it looks very aged and weathered and it was written and really fancy calligraphy and it was like a be bold or be brave and I don't member all the things that it said, but it was inviting. I was telling us we need to go on a treasure hunt x o

11:08 We had to bring natural light we couldn't use I forgot that has lights and we had to find these rocks and on each of the rocks with the letter the letter and it was only three rocks and it spelled big so which is good cuz if it was longer we probably would have spelled it wrong.

11:29 But we found the the Red X. I think I don't know if there was actually a red X but otherwise lyrics in my memory we had to dig way down. Ya like five feet and it was a 5-day weather was pretty deep deeper than it should have went and I remember it took more than one person to lift it out to there was like a box was a boxes of big box if I recall correctly and inside remember how it was arranged inside if there was individual papers ready to bury each of the grandchildren and on the paper said invited us to go on a river rafting trip down the Russian River, right? And there is doubloons that we had to put outside of our door on New Year's Eve if we accepted our

12:17 PSR call and then those doubloons were replaced by her handkerchiefs are Red Hanger to blue ones and red ones. We were separated into different teams. That was fun. I was a lot of fun. I think I'll wear eye patches and earrings and you made a big flag. We made a huge flag is that called the Jolly Rodger not going bones. Yeah. Yeah. We made a big flag of me a squirt guns and it was fun. I think I was doing wasn't it was

12:50 Here is usually usually the organizer for all the

12:55 The fun things we did a Christmas.

12:58 Have the treasure hunts true. So we usually do at Treasure Hunt every year at Christmas. They haven't been as elaborate as that when we know. I don't think you can talk that one.

13:13 So since we're kind of this is sort of a tribute to you as a mother. I wanted to ask you I feel like you did a good job raising me. But what was one of the hardest moments you had when I was growing up.

13:27 That's a good question TV.

13:30 I think it would probably be when you were in junior high.

13:34 You are going through a really hard time then and I don't really remember exactly why you were.

13:40 But it seems like

13:45 I know school was really hard. You had such good teachers in your Junior High years better than even in your high school, and I know Lee High School junior high teachers knowledge and I think that they were demanding a lot of you and

14:05 I think because you're an only child.

14:09 Perfection has always been you know part of who you are wanting to please people and I think I just think that you got real serious about everything feeling like you couldn't handle all of it and and you were taking violin then too. And I remember we had to stop the violin lessons, but it just seemed like you were really depressed and down to remember. I remember there was a lot I mean girls are catty in junior high thinks I ate some of it was some of it how you had you had there was a girl who is very mean to you actually. Yeah that during that time I forgot about that your butt out of that came two of my best friends that's true in the whole world. They they stuck by me.

14:53 With all that

14:55 So what is Ben this is a hard question was been the hardest thing for you.

15:04 Growing up. I mean, I know that you're an only child that was always hard for you used to ask me all the time. Why can't we have another brother or sister? And so I don't know that you would say that that was the hardest but what do the salt taste like? I mean, I don't know. It's like it's really sort of indescribable cuz I've never had anything else except when we had exchange students. There we go again with the first race, but the hardest thing for me.

15:44 I think was

15:49 Honestly, I think I felt like often times. I was the the telephone wire between you and Dad.

15:58 Thing that you know

16:01 Being the one who clarified the communication feel like I've always sort of been an interpreter and I don't I don't resent that. It's because it's really made me who I am. I think it's helped me to be

16:14 A good communicator and it's taught me a lot about life. And I think it's helped me to be able to resolve conflicts between you know other people. Sorry.

16:30 But that was hard. I felt like you know, I think I felt like it was it was a delicate situation and that I was sort of the balancer at times between that and I don't know that I was as important as I made myself out to be per se but it felt like

16:46 It was a lot of stress involved with that and I think that

16:52 That was what made it difficult for me. You can do, you know to come back home after I went away to college is because like you said your life has been so involved in in mine and then you begin to find yourself in it in a different way and I felt like when I came back that it was like

17:08 I don't I shouldn't be here right now because

17:13 You and Dad were turning over a different leaf and becoming different people and I didn't want to get in the way of that and I didn't resent that either because I love the people you've both become.

17:24 Because of that, you know, you're not you are more than than my mom or the moms everyone else. You are more than that and you always will be that it mean your

17:34 You're wonderful artistic person and you've always been creative and you're always excited about life and learning and growing and I think that you were able to get back in touch.

17:49 With that part of you because of that. I think I over answered that question. But his

17:55 Yeah, I agree with you. I have totally redefined.

18:01 Who I am I think being a mother is still the most important thing to me, but like I have

18:12 Changed a lot and in discovering who I am as a person and pursuing.

18:18 My interests and

18:22 And seeing what a strong person I am you are you always have been you've been strong for other people, but now I think you're strong for yourself.

18:31 True

18:34 It's been exciting to to see that about you. Thank you and to watch Dad grow in the same way, too. I think it's been good.

18:44 I have another question for you. Okay, I like this question when you meet God, what do you want to say to him?

19:01 I think I'd have a lot of questions like what well, I think one of them would be why are you more children didn't come into my life why that was such a difficult thing. That would be one.

19:17 I'd have a lot of questions about.

19:24 I'm going to probably everybody does but the inequalities in in the world and trying to gain.

19:32 Maybe that perspective that he has you know, which I don't know what that is, but I understand that to see it from

19:44 From that point of view because there's a lot of hard things that go on in people's lives. And when I think about the hard things that I've dealt with her drop in the bucket compared to

19:59 The hard things that most people in the world the biggest populations go through so I know just trying to get a better understanding of

20:12 Of the Domino's. Yeah, I know why and how and

20:18 Understanding the purpose of it.

20:22 I know that's hard question. I'd like more time to think about that. I think you answered at 1.

20:31 Will tell me a little bit about your childhood cuz I know that you are one of my favorite things is to hear you and your Three Brothers. Talk about all the fun you used to have what was

20:44 What was one of your favorite childhood memories?

20:50 You know, there's a lot of favorite childhood memories that I have. I had such an idyllic childhood. I think I grew up with the right.

21:01 Era, and and just had two very loving parents who?

21:08 Are still even married today, which is a rare thing, but

21:13 I was the only girl with three brothers to the oldest. Yeah, you know, I was really really close to my three brothers are well specially the two of them because we were so close in age only a year-and-a-half apart from each other and then and then Brad came along and there's 9 years difference between us but because we were so close in age. We we were each other's company and friends and people would remark all the time about how we didn't seem like we were siblings that you know, we were so close.

21:52 But I think probably most of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the trips. We would take in the summertime and go visit the grandparents in Montana and in Utah and

22:08 Especially being in Montana, which we all seem to have such a love for but we'd be there around the 4th of July a lot and would stay with Grandma and in their Farmhouse and Grandpa died when I was really young and they had cows and so

22:32 Where there's cows there's cow pies.

22:36 And we could get firecrackers in Montana. I was hoping you'd tell the story by those firecrackers and go out into the pasture and find the not the wettest cowpie, but had to be attached red had to be pretty fresh air quality right firecracker. Light it and then see who dared to stay there the longest before we running away.

23:07 Then I remember while I was gone in Baltimore. You sent me a video of Clark and Brad my uncles and my cousins they were I guess my uncle was in this little like genies and he was just running around with his little son in the next thing. I know they just shot of my Uncle Brad with a cow pie and he just stares out after him and pretty quick. There's just a mirage of cow pies being thrown at him. So I think that that's something that's never really gone away. Mom would always be mad when we'd come in because we don't fight all over us.

23:58 I don't even know how we started that game. But I wonder if one of your cousins. You that I don't think so because they weren't involved in that. It was just us we would do it would be bored. You know, here we are out in this beautiful country of Montana and we were not really City kids, but that's what the relatives would always call us and we get out there and then we can be anything to do we get some which is absolutely ridiculous. But you know cuz of her streams and all kinds of things to do, but it's so funny.

24:36 But we were just good company to each other, you know, we even invented a thing called we called ourselves The Three Musketeers and

24:49 And we would if we didn't believe what someone was saying then we would say 3000 musketeer honor and that meant that they had to pay three thousand times. They're like the triple dog dare. What's none of us of course would ever be able to do but you know that I mean we would we would fess up if somebody said three thousand Musketeers honor enough, so it doesn't know there's just lots of little

25:18 Memories and stories out have to tell this one. There was a boy who lived next door. His name was Joey and

25:29 I would I kind of liked him. And so when we would play I would be the queen and Joey was the king Clark was the night cuz he loved nights and wanted to be a night filled. Oh, yeah, and then it was cliff and we didn't know what to do with him. And so he became the chatter to clean.

25:53 And I bet he was happy. That's the best part about Cliff cuz I bet he made the most of it. I bet he was happy you could have made him a gesture something the janitor. That's I think you got a little bit tired of it. You know, I'm waiting for him because Clark and I could sing and weed seeing all the time and then you know, and then it was like what is Cliff to Cliff saying he can't do anything, you know, it was that got kind of I think sometimes it was a little bit too much for Cliff cuz

26:26 Okay, we just not know what to do with him. That's all right. You certainly blossomed afterwards?

26:37 Scrape he did.

26:44 I have another question. Okay, go ahead.

26:47 What's one of your favorite memories of me?

26:50 It's the first one that pops into my mind is.

26:55 When you are about 18 months old.

27:00 I loved that age with you. There's a lot of Ages that I really like with you. But I know is that seems like a short age. Like really into the newborn but I love babies, but I think I liked it when you started to become more independent and things started to you started to discover things and I have a very vivid memory of you at 18 months old you were walking you talked very early and we were outside and we were down at a creek and it was fall and there were leaves all over the ground and you would pick up Aleve and you would look at it and you put it up to your face and then you drop it and you walk around and then you would just wave your hands close to your body like this and you go

27:57 I have such as a memory of vivid memory of you at that age. And I remember just loving that you were so curious about everything around you your surroundings and wanting to know more you've always been that way ever since then that continued on in your life. I remember another time.

28:23 Oh, I don't know how old you were you were you were young like maybe fourth grade.

28:29 And you were sitting watching PBS and it was on Einstein. There was a show on Einstein and the theory of relativity. It was so far beyond and you looked at me and you said I guess this Mom I guess this

28:47 I was so shocked that you could get that cuz I've always struggled with math and anything like that that you were just fascinated by that and do remember you were he would have your hero and you had posters of him all over your room and that's embarrassing the hell. I'm sorry. I said that goes back, you know to you and to Dad. I think that it was your parenting style that really encouraged that because I don't ever remember a very few times ever you saying I me asking, you know, why can't I do that and you sing because I never said that because I said so I never I don't know if I don't I don't think you've ever said that unless you really got to your Wit's End and you always were willing to explain things to me and you were okay with me asking questions. It was assumed. It was always safe.

29:42 For me to ask questions and I think that that's a really remarkable and unique. I don't think most people parent that way but and it got me into trouble sometimes because I would ask why when know when maybe it was socially unacceptable to ask why but but I think that that's really made me who I am and helped me to love learning.

30:06 And i r a i remember you in a reading to me at a very very young age books that you know, most people don't read until they're in high school or Junior High and I think that that

30:17 That helped me to stretch my mind cuz I'm sure that there was many times that you were reading something that I you know, maybe didn't fully comprehend, but you were always kind and patient in line for me to ask questions and

30:34 I need to be there and I was always fun for me to figure it out too. And you were okay with with letting me just figure that out. Thank you for telling me that cuz I was very conscious about that, you know trying to

30:49 I mean, I remember thinking to myself I'm never going to say because I'm the adult or because that's the way it is. I think it was a team effort between there was an agreement that it was okay that it was going to be sort of a diplomatic approach to Parenting and I've I appreciate that.

31:07 A lot, but thank you. I appreciate you being an easy daughter. Well, I don't know what that means. But thanks. I remember thinking when I stayed home with you when you were in high school thinking.

31:24 This is not a girl that makes like really bad decisions why you know, it's just not a kid that needs to be rain dinner or anything like that and I just appreciate it so much that you have been that kind of a person that

31:41 Do you know if if I was only going to have one child, but I really I got a good one.

31:48 Someone who can be independent and who has had such a

31:56 A good kind heart and is a person that thinks and cares for others and

32:05 So

32:08 You're good.

32:10 Oh, thank you.

32:12 And I love the relationship that the two of us have

32:16 It's been an evolutionary relationship I think over X and I appreciate that you've

32:23 Allow that to grow into change over time to cuz I know that that was hard. I mean I haven't I'm living at home now, which is not easy. I don't sat for either of us, I think but

32:33 But you're willing to even after my having been gone to Baltimore for for almost 2 years and having no contact with me to come back and to realize and recognize that I was a different person and to kind of reset and re-evaluate and being willing to to move forward with that. I think that that

32:56 Was in a very selfless of you think you did. Oh, you've had to evolve to challenge. It is good. That makes us grow.

33:10 Well from my perspective the challenge is that

33:20 You've got a 24 year old whose now home with you and

33:25 Who is a very independent person and should be an independent person and you want to allow them that that freedom in that that autonomy and feeling like they can

33:39 Be that person and not want to be that I have to be sometime sprained my my mothering and a little bit but I try to be very conscious of that throughout the challenge for me. I don't know what it is for you, but I think for me it's you know, I haven't had a mom really for 7 years. You've always been there. Certainly. I've been calling me on the phone and making sure that I was okay, but I have had to check in with somebody for the past Cena 7 years and I am still trying to figure out that balance for me. Do I need to call her and say I'm going to be home in an hour or how's that supposed to work and still, you know remaining autonomous in the same time I think is

34:21 And I also feel like maybe it's silly but I had to feel like I need to care for you too, and maybe it's just my desire to to give back to you. But I know that you know, both of us are sort of in a new where we're in new places.

34:37 And in different places than we thought we would be you with with the divorce and me with kind of going to another school and not not finishing in the traditional manner of four years of schooling and majoring in something that's on traditional and of itself doing theater. I think it kind of displaces you as in the professional world and now with your your teaching job as well. I mean your your displaced there again.

35:06 With a California cutbacks you for the first time ever and that you're having some instability and places that you've never thought you would have to go through so.

35:20 But I see and I think that's why it's good that we have each other. It is nice. I know I have noticed that there have been times when you've been almost apologetic that you were going to go out somewhere or you know do something and that I was home alone and I would think

35:40 Well, that's not a problem. You know, but I had that feeling from you that there was that I'm sorry. I'm leaving you alone or you know, but I think I felt like I you know sort of a banded you after I went to HighSchool 2 and I know that was hard for you and then I abandoned you again when I went to Baltimore and so I think trying to make up for all of that, but I know that that's not I don't I know that I don't need to but there's still that instinct Within Me.

36:05 Thought you've got that mothering instinct to hide a music and singing with such an important part of.

36:21 Our relationship and our lives in our family and I know that there's a song that we were both thinking about singing. Would you like to sing that right now? Sure to introduce it. Is there a I'd just know that I my mother taught us this song we would sing it in the car a lot when we were drive. I have no idea where it comes from. I don't even know what it means. It's no big deal. So which part would you like to do? We can see it together, okay.

36:50 All right. Call Monty Monty Monty Monty gottschlich require money money money money Parkway and Parkway.

37:09 Nicodemo, we call Money Money Money Money Cash Tech Parkway.

37:45 Singing has been a big part of our Lives sing to you a lot.

37:50 Even before you were born while you were still in the womb would sing a lot. I think that's actually one of my earliest memories is I remember sitting on a rough carpet somewhere. I was I must have been really really tiny cuz I don't there's really not words involved in this memory at all. It's just sort of feeling send a picture but

38:13 I remember sitting on this rough carpet and hearing you and dad and your band singing and playing in the background and I remember being proud of you and I always I always cherish that memory because it's it's cool not very many people can say that their parents were in a band and your bed was cool to see all the latest stuff. So glad that you're carrying on that tradition of music.

38:43 Well, thank you for this opportunity Katie. What a great Mother's Day gift while thank you.

38:50 Thank you for being excited about it and willing to to come I think it's

38:54 Important to remember one another and to take time to to be grateful for each other and I certainly am grateful for you and all of your support in my life.

39:06 I love you. I love you.