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Susan Louise Darnell (m. Dailey)'s Geni Profile

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Susan Louise Darnell (m. Dailey) (Darnell)

Current Location:: Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States
Birthplace: Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Asbury Darnell and Jean Lucille "Sue" Darnell
Mother of Private and Private

Occupation: Teacher, Writer, Painter, Visionary
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Susan Louise Darnell (m. Dailey)

Susan Louise Darnell was born in Ohio and lived the first eighteen years of her life with her parents. The families first house is located at 3917 Shelby Road, Boardman, Ohio. As a little girl she enjoyed her baby dolls and took care of them everyday. She played with dolls until she was almost fourteen years old. When she was ten years old, her cousins moved down the street, a close walk away. They were Joan and Daniel O'Horo. Daniel was her second cousin and through mother who was Rubye V. [Sands] O'Horo. Rubye was Susan's mother's mother's sister. Susan's mother's name was Jean Lucille Bahm and when Jean married her name was Sue Darnell. Susan's grandmother, who was Rubye's sister and Jean's mom, was Louise [Sands] Bahm.

         But let's get back to the critical couple in Susan's life who would play out good parenting and a normal, good Catholic family homelife. Since Susan visited this family every day after school and felt more grounded at their home, she was very influenced to become a mother in her adult years. She did not have a career in mind, except if you consider motherhood and wifehood and family life a job. Joan and Danny proceeded to have five children. By the time Susan was ten, and Joannie had her first child, Susan started to ask to come visit and spend time with the children. Over the course of eight years the O'Horo's were nearby. Susan babysat [Shannon, Danny, Michelle, Jennifer, Patrick] just about everyday after school and Joannie would pay her five or ten cents an hour. Joannie was Susan's role model for motherhood. Susan's mother was a full time worker, having to start work by the time Susan was about seven years old.

The next momentous event in Susan's life came when her parents joined Pymatuning Yacht Club in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. Susan was ten. When the spring came the families of that modest yacht club were invited to come to the land, put a trailer on a small plot of land and stay the weekends. Some stayed during the week. Because all families had to have a boat and trailer, they became boaters and eventually Susan's father was a crew during Thistle sail boat races. He crewed for Nils Leida Dailey, a man with whom Susan would form a relationship with from about the time she was thirteen or fourteen. While the boating was interesting, the Darnell family was really more into the life in the forest, which is how the little yacht club situated itself -- in a forest, on a lake. Everyone enjoyed the outdoors and woods life of this camp. Susan had amazing summers for eight years and learned to sail. One summer the girls at the camp played "pick a name out of the hat and go chase the boy you get and kiss him." It was a bet, nothing else. Susan was suppose to chase Nils Leida Dailey and kiss him. That's how they met. The feeling sense of the relationship was neutral and remained so for the next sixteen years. Basically, Susan was uncertain of how to stop the rapport. Her mother didn't really relate well as a person, but as a socialite, she did. This left Susan unskilled in personal relationships, and Nils was as well. Parents who married during the 40s weren't especially skilled at "relating"...which became all the rage in the 70s. During his teen life, Nils lived in Pennsylvania and was one grade ahead of Susan. When he could drive, they met up many weekends during the fall, winter and spring [when the yacht club was closed]. During those seasons Susan was allowed to bus to PA and go to Nils parents house in Pennsylvania or he'd drive to her house in Boardman, Ohio. Essentially, one of the main reasons the couple stayed together was because the mothers were close and encouraged it.

Susan went to college in the fall of 1968. She attended Vincennes Jr. College in Indiana. It's now called Vincennes Univ. This nine months of her life was the first time Susan felt a more complete sense of freedom and was very happy to be away from everyone she ever knew. She began to write curiously deep contemplative essays and wasn't very good at it, but noticeably, she needed to do it. It was like "once away from everyone in Boardman who caused her to think, feel or know whatever, she was finally free to listen to what her own soul was contemplating." The first essay was a contemplation about "Where is God?"

The social life at Vincennes was somewhat interesting. Dorm life brought Susan into close contact with other young ladies and Susan really liked the feeling of knowing new gals and having them enjoy her as well. There were various men who approached Susan and she allowed them to for the sake of socializing but felt the guilt of Nils and that rapport hanging around her neck like a noose she stuck her head into; and because she had no skills in relating very well, or very deeply, or to fix something that was conflicted inside of herself, she could not lift the noose off. With young men, then, Susan just spent time with some now and again to talk. Her moral code was already written in stone and to be faithful and virtuous in her actions was important to her and the God to whom she prayed. She did allow all the males who wanted to get to know her, up close and personal or intellectual in talk, but that was all. She was curious about what it was like to talk to men. Her entire life in Boardman was rather restricted in terms of what males she's ever be in good talks with. Susan didn't realize this at the time she was at Vincennes, but she did realize she was going to use the force of her own will to talk to anybody she wanted. Even at this time in her life, she had this sense of being able to carve her own way in life. She was very amazed at how much a few of the men liked her and interpreted her behavior. At this time in life, she did not know she was stuck with Nils and his infantile emotional ways. Nils was the kind of male who was bonding with Susan because she mothered him, which was all she knew how to do to all human beings. Many of the women, like Susan's mother, bonded with men like this. It was the norm of the day, although Susan clearly saw her mother's friends in their relationships with their husbands and there were a few of the couples who were very different because they were more like peers, lovers and friends....not mothering and fathering each other. They felt like a breath of fresh air.

Forced to stay within the code of conduct and expectation she was raised in, Susan married in 1970 after having a five year active relationship with Nils.

Next, and very happily, Susan moved every year or so with her husbands needs in mind. This kind of service to a husband was expected. Although she didn't realize it, under the surface of her consciousness, Susan was afraid to not do what her parents and Nils wanted. She did feel a small knawing feeling that the life she was living was not one she wanted, but she had no human to talk to so developing ideas took place all in her own private consciousness. The couple's first move after the day they were married was in Pittsburgh above a bar named Win, Place and Show. It was okay in Susan's estimation. The interior was fully furnished and sort of Italian in decorum. Nils worked at Westinghouse inventing a toaster -- which was good for him, and a rather prestigious assignment in Susan's view. During the day, in order to avoid total panic, Susan invented what to do on her own, without a conversation with Nils because by then, she noticed he wasn't into what she thought, felt or did with her self or life.

Susan felt crippled but didn't know it exactly because she was never asked her feelings by anyone in life so far, except by Joannie, and Joannie wasn't around. She figured out what to do by looking in the phone book and when she saw the listing "The Crippled Children's Home"...she decided to see if they would allow her to volunteer there. And so that's where she spent time while living in Pittsburgh. There is one life event that is memorable while the couple lived in Pittsburgh, and that's the time Barbara Ruth Anstrom Ridge came to visit the couple and they all went out into the big city of Pittsburgh and goofed around. The other amazing thing for Susan was being inside The Pittsburgh Crippled Children's Home. She saw things like children who had been exposed to some kind of chemical and whom birth defects included having stubs for legs. These children would have fun laying on a board that was close to the ground and that had wheels. Using their short arms to roll across the floor, they would race. It's not hard to see how this view of children who were institutionalized could be cathartic to any sorrow buried inside Susan. Love does often cathect itself with taoistic experiences.

As was expected, the summer in Pittsburgh came to an end. The couple then moved to the Stephen's Institute of Technology Campus in Hoboken, New Jersey. Nils had received a scholarship for an MA in Ocean Engineering. To this day Susan has no idea of when or where Nils was when he thought about this or filled out paperwork or applied for a full scholarship. This entire thing, this new event, was simply announced to Susan as if she was a servant of a beck and call from not only Nils, but in the background, his mother. Since Susan was forced to be sweet, gentle and polite, she could only ask Nils or her parents or his mother questions now and again. Mostly, they preferred to just announce what was going to be and then have Susan dress to the nines and sort of be their diplomat at any and all occasions. Susan was allowed to showcase her superior social skills at any occasion. No doubt this was because she was forcefully trained to be present for others in a way that made them look fabulous. Susan accepted this without balking because if she didn't, she'd be punished and put to isolation until she decided to do what they needed.

Nils went off to class at Steven's Institute of Technology [fall 1970] and once again, Susan was left on her own. No one ever talked to Susan about what she was to do or what she might do. It was more like in her home life with Nils, life could only be about giving Nils breakfast, or whatever he needed, and getting everything ready for him to leave comfortably or return comfortably. So one day, on her own Susan dreamed up that she had to do something so she went to a phone booth and called St. Paul's of the Cross, Catholic parish elementary school in Hoboken, New Jersey. Joannie was a devout Catholic and Susan knew that group or kind of people might be kind to her, even sweet, as compared to how Nils or her parents talked to her. So she was brave and calm as she made the phone call. Even though she had only attended Vincennes Jr. College in Indiana for one year, and then Kent State University for most of her second year of college, she was already confident that she could teach. Once again, thrilled that anyone would be kind to her and let her work for pay, she accepted the job with no hesitation teaching fifth grade full time. The school didn't have much money and offered Susan around $4000.00 for the entire year. At the end of the year, Susan asked her children to write her a letter of goodbye. Every single one of them had bee honored and advanced in their skills with Susan, the very happy teacher of children. In the summer, Susan tutored a few of her students to prep them for sixth grade. She remembers in particular Henrietta.

The next move, based on her husbands choice, not hers, she was never asked, was to move to Gaithersburg, Maryland. Nils got his first major job at NSRDC Naval Ship Research and Development Center in MD. With nothing to do again, except set up house and get a social life for the couple, Susan decided to try to finish college and did. She worked at a lamp and lighting store, saved money and applied to two colleges. She was accepted at two colleges and very surprised any would let her in. The college she choose was American University in Washington DC. By the end of Dec. 1971 or 2, she received a BA in Elementary Education. Susan's parents came to the graduation ceremony and notably Susan was taken aback by this sense of anyone celebrating her life for any reason. Since her mother had always been mostly startled and afraid when Susan did things she could not do, this sense of nervous, odd energy was at the celebration.

Wondering what to do next, Susan started to figure out how to look for a job in her new, highly credentialed field. There was a teacher who taught first grade and she was having a baby and needed to take six months off. That's the job Susan found in January at Silver Springs Elementary School, Silver Springs Maryland. This time she was a full time teacher, for half a year, to first graders. It was nearly heaven and always sheer bliss. Dr. Boyd C. Howard wanted Susan to begin the next fall as a full time teacher, but Nils would not agree to stay in Maryland. He had decided to go to Dartmouth College's Amos Tuck Business School in Hanover, NH and get his second masters, an MBA. Susan was beginning to feel disappointment but held her typical positive and supportive attitude. She was beginning to notice that virtually nothing she did or took notice in was ever reflected back in the eyes and mind of her husband. She was beginning to not really like him much but this was far too much for her to deal with because where would she go? Everywhere Nils took her was new and interesting, but there were no dear, long term friends to turn to.

Being forced to adjust, Dartmouth was actually the best place Susan ever lived with Nils because it brought her into contact with many of the wives who gathered together regularly. Because Susan was so outgoing, she adjusted to the new life that involved living in graduate housing called Sachem Village -- a place where only married couples lived. And Dartmouth College at the business school fascinated Susan. With Karen Cordner, the second year at Tuck, Susan became the Dartmouth Wives Association co-president. This group of women would change Susan's life again, and dramatically. This was the first time Susan mingled with such high level woman, many of whom were on a career path in the business world. Susan remembers how the women looked at her when she showed what a devoted wife she was. All that would change several years later as Susan began to realize, or admit to herself, how her husband totally ignored her and her needs. On the flip side, what was happening politically and socially to Susan was the she was beginning to hear from women who knew about women's liberation and the feminist movement. Virtually all the women at Dartmouth that Susan met did not help their husbands like Susan did, nor did they want to, but they did have a curious fascination with Susan's devotion. Susan noticed how they cut down their husbands if they wanted to and she noted in her mind that she was raised to never cut anyone down, let alone your husband. Slowly, it was dawning on Susan that critical, correct judgement was a good thing to be about, like the other wives were when their husbands offended them a little.

After Dartmouth College, Susan moved to where her husband got a job offer -- Wallingford, Connecticut. What she wanted to do with life, her life, his life, was never asked, only it was pontificated upon in those women's groups. Simply noticing that she was notified there would be another geographical move was all she ordinarily expected from Nils. At first they rented a house on Piper Drive. When the thought came to her to become pregnant, she did. Her first son Alexander was born when the couple still lived on Piper Drive. At this time Eleanor, Nils mother, offered ten thousand dollars to put down on a house. Susan went house shopping and the couple moved into 25 Oakdale Circle, Wallingford, CT.

By 1976, much to the divine happiness of Susan, she has her first child, Alexander Darnell Dailey. Born February 2nd, this boy began to change Susan's life. Her second son was born July 13, 1977. She names him Austin Sinclair Dailey. By 1979, Susan realized she was not going to stay with a man who never respected her point of view nor wanted to know who she was so she left him within six months of saying she was divorcing him -- Her announcement came in November 1979. Sons with her, a moving truck full of enough furniture for a small place to live, Susan drove north and began her formal education at Dartmouth College. Within six months, her mother announced she was dying of lymphoma, other extreme stresses began due to the mess of divorce, so Susan stopped going to school. Instead of run to anyone in her past and rescue them, she decided to save herself and stay independent. She and her boys moved many times up in New England. Susan wanted to explore lifestyles. She was also beginning to paint and write frequently. She felt satisfied she had given her sons a real New England life but also duly noted, she felt bad for Nils and faithfully allowed visitation. When the boys were nine and ten she let them live with their father to get to know him. Visitation was suppose to be equally divided but Nils never honored his part of the bargain. Thus, Susan's life with her boys for the next several years was limited to a few weeks each summer. This began a difficult adjustment period for Susan. She'd work on and off for nine months to have enough income to mother for her full time summer visits, and each time, there was a phone call telling her they'd only come for a few weeks. She was too overwhelmed to go to court and no longer lived in CT so dealing with this matter legally was out of the question. She coped instead with the reality of the situation all the while developing her own skills as a writer and painter. For the many years she was not mothering in person full time Susan moved around the country exploring and with difficulty, trying to cope and get part time jobs to support a small material life. She enjoyed the freedom to explore even though missing her family simultaneously. All in all, she had explored Lebanon, New Hampshire, Plainfield, New Hampshire, Norwich, Vermont, Sunset Beach, Florida, Fort Meyers, Florida, Fripp Island, South Carolina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, St. Helena, South Carolina, Beaufort, South Carolina, Kauai Island, Hawaii, and Oahu Island, Hawaii.

In 1988 or 1989 Hilton Head Island residents had to evacuate the island due to a tornado warning. Susan drove north and on her way decided to go to Nashville,Tennessee. Three weeks later she went back to Hilton Head. During her time here she came out as an American Painting and had about seventy paintings out in the public. When December of 1989 came, she was invited to go to Japan. She packed up everything, got on a plane and the first stop to get to Japan was Hawaii. She never went to Japan, rather, she stayed in Hawaii with about $30 dollars left to her name. She loved this kind of challenge. It was one of her post divorce, life goals to learn to go anywhere, whether with money or not, and to start a whole new lifestyle. So she stayed. Stuck in the airport waiting for this and that, like her luggage that went to Japan, she began inventing what to do. To get acclimated, she rode around on the bus for an entire evening, and a few hours into it, decided that since she already knew God was in everyone, she thought she ask the bus driver to help her solve her problems. He did and by the middle of the night the bus drivers friend picked up Susan and took her to a place to stay and make decisions and get acclimated. In the mean time, Susan also had to stay at the airport most of the time to retrieve her luggage. During that airport time she met Patrick Croall. Long story short, within a few days his daughter was given to him. Patrick was also stuck in the airport. Eventually, several days later, the three hopped a small plane and went to Kauai, Island. Here they lived together in the Roxy Theater in secret. The temperature in Kauaii is always perfect so day or night temperature was not a problem, just getting enough money for food was. Patrick had a small architectural service so

By 1993, she decided to apply to college and stay in college for as long as it took to earn a PhD.

The main goal as pertains to reentering college was to become a writer and to do so with teachers who would give her feedback. Every chance she had, she took writing intensive courses which allowed a student to write instead of take tests. Because she has spent the former years as a single person totally willing to do some monastic practices and immerse herself in sorrow, by the time Susan re-enter college she is aware of the fact that she is profound. Everyone points to it. "How to you know?" is a frequent question. Even the professors are surprised at how she analyzes texts and applies what she knows to everyday, current experiences. The professors feedback was most important to Susan. She had lived for several years among the more or less underprivileged calls and wondered how the desire to be like Mother Theresa had so become what she did in her single years? She also was interested in getting out of that kind of work/personna/offering. She was tired of it and wanted to be involved in more intellectual, instead of emotional/spiritual, kinds of venues of expression. She was curious about what all her extraordinary life experiences and travels had made of her intellectual processes, which had up until then, had been mostly ignored by her family and former husband, and yet used so repeatedly by the poor with whom she mingled and served. She knew that those to whom she had entrusted her life created her alongside of her own contemplations with God.

While she was attending Univ of Hawaii she met and lived with Russell Thomas Alfonso. For five years Susan enjoyed the uplifting, respectful rapport she had with Russ who was a PhD Philosopher. She learned that in this relationship, and because both were philosophical, they had to sit and talk to understand what the other was talking about and why.Russell was the first person Susan new up close and personal who paid proper attention to Susan and thought about her needs. For Susan, this was a marvel and novel. It gave her the courage to invite her first son Alexander, to come live with her in Hawaii and start his life in a new direction. Alex had been in the Coast Guard Academy in Groton, CT and couldn't stand it. His goal was to flunk himself out. His main complaint was that there was no compassion there. Upon hearing this Susan asked Alex to consider flying to her in Hawaii. He did so and joined her and Russell in 1996. By 1997 he'd adjusted by going to college nearby and getting a most intriguing job that had him cataloguing government documents that his employers retrieved from Pacific Rim islands like Fiji, Papau New Guinea, New Zealand and I think Northern Australia, or maybe the latter was just one of many trips Alex went on to scuba dive.

By 1996, UH was finished and Susan contemplated and received letters of recommendation to being a PhD program in American Studies at UH or Philosophy. But her heart was on it's mission to be with her sons. She had made an agreement with them to live with them after their several year stint living with their dad in CT. So Susan went back to her original goal of attending college in 1980, and applied to the program she dropped out of in 1981, which was the Liberal Studies master's program at Dartmouth College. One morning she fell apart. Russell was asking her what was the matter and she said, "My life doesn't make sense." He queried more and found out she missed Austin too much. Within weeks, he offered her a plane ticket to the east coast. Without knowing the outcome of such a visit, Susan went to the eastern side of the USA.

Fast forward, by 2001, Susan had finally received her master's degree from Dartmouth College. From that point on, her writing and painting collection grew into one long retrospective of a woman's life. Like Rachmaninoff, Susan likes to call her life's work, "The Harvest of Sorrow."