Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Irish, if only for a day

March 17, 2005

One might assume that St. Patrick's Day would have significant cultural importance to someone named Julia O'Dell. But her family, who doesn't even happen to be Irish, celebrates March 17 for a different reason.

"My daughter, Amanda, is a St. Patrick's Day baby," O'Dell said.

She and her husband Steven O'Dell plan to visit their daughters Amanda and Sara, both students at Missouri Western University for the holiday and Amanda's birthday. The O'Dells usually wear green and eat corned beef and cabbage to go along with the St. Patrick's Day traditions, Julia said, though they have no genealogic connection to the Irish holiday.

Julia has traced her family genealogy back to the 1300s. Her family history stems from England but is believed to have stopped through Ireland. Her husband's family has the same story - they are also from England, and it is possible that the family picked up the "O" in O'Dell, a common characteristic of Irish names, while living in Ireland, Julia said. Despite the lack of Irish roots, Julia still finds ways to have fun with St. Patrick's Day.

"One time I tried to make the girls' milk green with food coloring," Julia said. "They didn't really like that."

Name: Julia O'Dell

Address: 533 S. Hickory Trail

Occupation: Project coordinator for Veterans Upward Bound for the University of Kansas

Graduate of: Kansas State University

Family: Husband, Steven; three daughters, Sara, 22, Amanda, 19, and Katherine, 16

How long have you lived in Lansing? Since 1999 - we came because my husband is in the Army. We were most recently in Fort Hood.

What do you like most about Lansing? It's a wonderful small town that is close enough that a big city is easy to access.

What do you do to relax? Read fiction.

What would surprise people about you? I sang in Paris at the American Cathedral while my husband was stationed in Germany.

What's the best advice you ever received? Perfection is the enemy of excellence.

What organizations do you belong to? Treasurer of the National Association of Veterans Upward Bound

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