CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
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
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

----- 360 Degrees in the Shady ----- “If Benches Could Talk”

As I mentioned a while back, 360 Degrees in the Shady is a new feature that will make a panoramic sweep of the mid-60s Dell. In a series of posts, I will accompany you on a virtual tour of the place and we will revisit some of the spots that made the Dell unique.

The first installment of 360 takes you up the steps of the Dell's entrance and past the admission booth. Stop! Now turn, march forward a few paces and you'll find yourself at a place where I spent a great deal of my time. No, not the men's room! Wrong way! I meant for you to turn to the right and rest a spell on the bench overlooking the parking lot.

That old bench was a great spot to relax in the late afternoon or at sunset and enjoy some peace, quiet and solitude before the noisy crowd arrived to break the spell. It was a perfect vantage point for people watching, for observing the break-ups and make-ups prevalent in the lives of teenagers.

On brisk fall evenings, I'd often plant myself on the bench, zip up my Baracuta, and monitor the arrivals and departures. I'd often wonder where everybody was coming from or going to. Were kids in the incoming vehicles swinging by the Dell after the football game, wrestling practice, or some other school function? Had they finally reached the summit from Base Camp-1(Bud’s Drive-in) on the other side of Violet Hill?

Were the outbound heading off to catch a movie at a theater or miss one at a 'passion pit'? Were they on their way to East York for a bite to eat at Gino’s or Avalong Farms Drive-in? Were they taking George downtown to the Ramona restaurant? Were they destined for the north side of town to have a shake or banana split at Rutter's Dairy Store or to dance to the music of local bands at the Oaks?

I found out where one of the guys was going when he stopped by the bench on his way out and hit on me for gas money. It was a Saturday, and while everybody else was having fun, all this prince of a guy could think about was helping others. He was in a hurry and I didn't get the whole story but, near as I could tell, some basketball players were stranded in Maryland and needed him to drive down I-83 and give them a ride home. Yessir, I remember exactly what he told me. He said that he was goin' down to the line to pick up a carload of tall boys: Bud, Mick, Bo and Gunther. As I filled the guy's palm with dead presidents, I got a little misty-eyed knowing that I was contributing to such a worthy cause.

That was then. As the Association sang, "the psychodramas and the traumas gone" and now, so to is the old bench that witnessed it all - the bench that eavesdropped on so many private conversations as it stood guard in front of the Dell all of those years. That bench was sold to the highest bidder in an auction, I'm told. Where is it now? One thing's for sure: on sunny days as well as Shady nights, I spent many hours...

“Sittin' on the Bench at the Dell”
(sung to the tune of Otis Redding’s
“Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay”)

Sittin' in the mornin' sun,
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' comes.
Watchin' the cars roll in,
Then I watch 'em roll away again.

Yeah, I'm sittin' on the bench at the Shady,
Wishin' that I could find a lady.
Ooh, I'm just sittin' on the bench at the Dell,
Wastin' time.

I left my home, took George street,
Headed up Violet Hill way.
I heard the Dell was the place for
Findin' somebody to play.

So I'm just gonna sit on the bench at the Shady,
Wishin' that I could find a lady.
Ooh, I'm just sittin' on the bench at the Dell,
Wastin' time.

Look like nothin's gonna change.
Everything still remains the same.
I can't do what Ann Landers tells me to do,
So I guess I'll remain the same. Listen,

Sittin’ here restin’ my bones,
And this stable fly won’t leave me alone. Listen,
2,000 yards I roamed,
Just to make the Dell my home.
Now I’m just gon’ sit on the bench at the Shady,
Wishin' that I could find a lady.
Ooh wee, I’m sittin’ on the bench at the Dell,
Wastin’ time.

(Whistle me off, Otis)

Have a Shady day!

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