I GOT MY NAME|
Zuleika Kendrick O’Daniel
as told to Louise George
Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early years
of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating their
everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me|
I first met Zuleika in 1997. Her sense of humor became evident very early
in our interviews when she told me she was born “out behind a tumbleweed somewhere
southwest of Hart, Texas.” In her own words she tells how she got her unusual
was born out in the country in a farmhouse. You know, people wasn’t born in the
hospital then. They were born at home. Dr. McFarland came to the house in a buggy.
They didn’t have cars in those days because that was 1911, December 20, 1911.
They gave me the name Zuleika Kendrick. The rule is i before e except after c
and in my name. I didn’t even know how to spell my real name until I was in the
fifth grade. |
“Daddy named me. None of the family liked my name, and
Mama did not want to name me that, but Daddy was determined he was going to. There
must have been quite a discussion on it. Finally, Granny said, ‘If you all don’t
decide her name, I’m going to call her Tom, Dick, or Harry.’ You know, Dick stuck
with me until I married Dick O’Daniel. Then, they couldn’t call both of us Dick.
My brothers and sister never had called me anything but Dick. After we married
they tried to change it, but every now and then, they would slip and call me Dick.
“I was named for one of my grandfather’s horses. He raised Arabian horses.
I found my name in the dictionary one time. It was the name of an Arabian princess
who died of a broken heart because her father shot her lover. I guess someone
else has got that name somewhere. I saw it once in a movie magazine. Some movie
star had named his daughter that.
“Anyway, Daddy brought that old horse,
Zuleika, out here to this country from Waco. And there was loco weed out here.
Loco weed is the only thing green in a dry year. It will be green when nothing
else is. Animals won’t eat it if there’s any other green stuff, but if horses
get started on it, it’s like marijuana is to people. It’s a drug and they usually
get hooked on it. That old horse, Zuleika, did that after it was old, and it craved
water like people do when they’re on dope. Daddy said the old horse fell in the
water tank and drowned.
“After I was grown, I worked in our Sunday School
with fourth graders for about forty years. There was one little boy who thought
Zuleika was a terrible name. One time he asked me ‘Why did your parents name you
that?’ So I told him the story. A long time later he went to work for the Arabian
Horse Association. He called his mother and said, ‘Zuleika was telling the truth.
They’re still carrying her name in the registered Arabian Horses.’”
© Louise George
Zuleika O’Daniel is featured in Louise George’s book, Some of My Heroes Are
Ladies, Women, Ages 85 to 101, Tell About Life in the Texas Panhandle. Louise
can be reached at (806) 935-5286, by mail at Box 252, Dumas, TX 79029, or by e-mail