High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Obligatory Mission Statement: "This is our moment. This is our time."

I am here to pay respect to the late John and Helen Ettline. They were good people, the kind you don't see much of anymore. I am here to make sure that the Ettlines get their props because they are long overdue. I am here to help tell the story of their Shady Dell, an historic landmark that for too long has been misunderstood, misrepresented, underreported and underappreciated. I am doing this because I saw a need and because I don't know of anybody else who's doing it.

I invite all of the Dell faithful and all other interested parties to join me in an exchange of information and memories. Everyone who is willing to participate will have the opportunity to teach as well as to learn. Don't let me do all of the talking. Post comments so that I know you're out there and what's on your mind. Together, we can get the Shady Dell story told as completely and accurately as possible. "This is our moment. This is our time."

In addition to sharing observations and anecdotes, we will be bringing to light on this blog fascinating yet little known facts about the Dell. We will be answering questions, solving mysteries, and exploding myths.

The life blood of the Shady Dell was the ever present jukebox music that buoyed our spirits, tugged at our heart strings, and facilitated romance. As the title of the blog suggests, we will be taking a peek inside that old jukebox and spotlighting many of the special songs that became the soundtrack for our Dell adventures. You'll be able to tell at a glance which records were popular at the Dell during any given month during the mid 60s, and I will soon begin my countdown of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell! Will your list of Dell favorites match mine?

It is important for you to know and remember that this is not "the Official Shady Dell Home Page." It is merely my personal blog and, as such, I must produce it in a manner that I find most satisfying and fulfilling. If I don't, this labor of love will surely become pure labor. If the blog is not interesting and entertaining to me, it probably won't be to you either.

I wish that a fully vetted Shady Dell website already existed. Heaven knows that I have been searching for years hoping to find a web-based Dell tribute. I never did. A few months ago, I began toying with the idea of creating my own Shady Dell shrine. Time after time I talked myself out of it. I kept thinking that if I waited a while longer, somebody else would step in and put together a Dell site - somebody who is better qualified and could do a better job. Eventually I got tired of waiting and confronted the obvious questions: If not you, who? If not now, when? And so, I decided to give it a try.

As I prepared to take the leap of faith and begin publishing my own blog, I wrestled with uncertainty over the best way to present my Dell tribute. Should it be a collection of long, scholarly essays? It might be more fun to read the Dead Sea Scrolls! Should it take the form of a tearful eulogy? That would only depress readers and they would log off, never to return. If they wanted to get depressed, they wouldn't need my blog. They could simply pick up a newspaper, watch CNN, or preview the network tv fall program schedule. Besides, I have come to praise John Ettline...not to bury him.

"It's my party and I'll laugh if I want to."

The answer finally came to me. Going to the Dell was fun. Visiting a Dell blog should be fun. After all, John and Helen didn't build a museum or a mausoleum. They chose to transform their home and grounds into a happy domain where young people could sing, dance, play, and celebrate their youth. It is my belief that the Ettlines would want visitors to this site to leave with smiles on their faces rather than tears in their eyes. I loved the Ettlines and I owe them a debt of gratitude, a debt that I will try to repay one post at a time. That being said, I also reserve the right as a blogger to inject some humor into the proceedings whenever the mood strikes.

"This is MY happening and it FREAKS ME OUT!"

Ronald Barzell, Class of '70, Contact High

So, have a Shady day and...


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