OUT OF THE WOODWORK!
wrote in and shared her fond memories of John.
LUBIE: Brought a tear to
my eye. John was a person
I could never forget. He
helped me do a school
project one year about
WWII and he sat and
talked to me for hours
about it. He and I would
talk for hours anytime.
Such a great man. Once he gave me money to go with
everyone else to the fair. What an awesome human he
LUBIE: I feel very lucky to have caught the tail end of the
Dell years. I always felt that the end of the Dell, was an
end for John. I really think it kept him going. He still had
us to make up a little bit for losing Helen. I wish I would
have met her.
LUBIE: My brother was a Dell Rat in the early 80s. I know
the barn was open when he first went. By the time I
started going the barn was closed and the jukebox and the
pool table were in the house. John had cans of soda and
chips and candy at the snack bar. He had stuff everywhere
and I don't think I honestly ever knew there were working
soda fountains and kitchen equipment there. There wasn't
really much dancing involved, unless you count the con-
stant brawls. They called me the peacemaker because I
was always stepping in between guys trying to fight. We
sat around at the tables outside when the weather was
good. There was a lot of hanging out in the parking lot.
I think the most played song on the jukebox in our days
was Iron Man by Black Sabbath. It was definitely the
dark end days of the Dell years. Nothing like your
same time troubling. Heavy metal
certainly doesn't fit in with the
Shady Dell that old timers like Greg
Jerre, Ron and I remember. I visited
John at the Dell in 1984. He and I had
a brief chat in the snack bar and then
I excused myself and walked down to the barn to have a look around. Upon entering and finding a dark, dingy, stone cold silent dance hall I knew at once that the Dell's glory days were behind her and that our beloved hangout was in "stage 4."
fantasy about buying the Dell and reopening it
ADRIENNE (AKA "A.J."): I went there for many years.
I loved John dearly. I would sit and talk to him for hours.
He was like the grandfather I never had. I went to his
funeral and we were allowed to go up there for one last
night and that was one of the saddest nights I can recall
to know that a very important piece of my teenage years
was gone forever.
Thank you, Dell Rat A.J. Many of us feel exactly the same as you do about the Shady Dell and the leader of the pack, John Ettline!
Dell Rat Ron Shearer, who started going to the Dell in 1963 at age 14, wrote in and presented a plausible theory about the timing of John's death.
DELL RAT RON: You know,
I don't think it is coincidental
that John passed away
roughly a week after one of
Helen's birthdays. I think it
was another special day out
of the year that he couldn't
stand celebrating by spending
time without her, and he just
wanted to join her and pined
away his last.
far away look in his eyes.
day and death date. John died one week after Helen's birthday and less than six weeks before the anniversary of her death. He had just spent another lonely Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year without her. Valentine's Day was only a few weeks away. All of those painful reminders must have weighed on John and contributed to his demise. It is amazing to realize that a man John's age was able to keep the Dell operating by himself for seven-and-a-half years after Helen passed away, enduring harsh winters and dealing with the increasingly rowdy and disrespectful teenage patrons!
DELL RAT RON: John and
Helen were special people.
They had a lot of love for
themselves, each other
and countless of us.
Shady, you really do a
fine job paying homage
to the Ettlines and the
people they helped to
grow up, as well as helping us to look back and see where
we've come from and what's a part of us.
to testify, each with a special story
about those days of Dell glory.
Stick around for more feedback from
our gang, the rodentia intelligentsia!