How I remember John! John was always the first one
to meet you when going into the Dell. He would be in
his booth waiting to get his quarter. I don't know how
many times he forgot to take my quarter so I could
spend it on the jukebox. I do know he always said
hello by being formal and using the last name and saying
"Hello Mr. Slaybaugh".
He would often have
some type of joke or
remark such as you're
early or late tonight.
Somehow he knew all
my close friends, also
Dell Rats, and would
let me know who was
already there and who
was missing. Of course
John was always in
control and had rules
that the "gentlemen"
were to follow.
My friends and I were not trouble makers and John knew
that. He also knew we would back him up if he needed it
to keep the peace. We respected him and we had earned
his respect. I guess that is why he often forgot to take our
quarters. I think he treated all the regulars that he knew
well as if they were his own kids. Somehow he learned
enough about the regulars to know them, their back-
ground and their friends fairly well. I know I always
looked forward to talking with John and made it a point
to say good night before ever leaving. It was not common
for teenagers to have good friends that were "old". But
John was a good friend to me and if he would have had
kids he would have been a great Dad for them. He was
just a great step-Dad for all the Rats. - Jerre Slaybaugh
John was the kind of man
that I think we all wanted
for a father. He wasn't
commanded and gave
respect, treated you like
an intelligent person.
If anything happened
that you screwed up
and got victimized,
he would resolve it to
his best, and pass on
advice to you without
making you feel stupid.
He would take time
out during the day if
you had to leave your
car there the night before
because it wouldn't run, and would help you with it---
even to the point of advising your own Dad, inspiring
respect from parents that had previously thought ill of
the Dell. I can only say good things about John.
Wishing him a Happy Father's Day for all the teens
he "fathered". - Ron Shearer
I'm trying to write some
words to honor John for
Father's Day. It's hard to
put down in words your
feeling about someone
that, if only for a short
time, played such an
important part in your life.
I cannot write this without
saying a few words about
another great man, my
father Clair N. Gulden.
These two men never
knew each other but they
both came from that great generation that fought a World
War in hopes that generations to come would never know
war. In my eyes these were the two best men I've ever
known. John never had kids of his own but was a second
Dad to hundreds of Dell Rats over the years. Whatever
made this man decide to devote so many years of his life
to having a home away from home for hundreds of kids
we may never know, but all of us that became Dell Rats
will all ways be grateful to John. He gave us his home
and then stayed in the background and let us make it
what we wanted. We all had a great deal of respect for
John and his words of advice when we needed them.
The Dell that I knew during the 60s was a place of pure
magic, you could feel it when you walked in the door to
the barn. John made the Dell a special place for all of us.
So to John and my Dad Thank You & Happy Father's Day
to all. - A DELL RAT ALL WAYS Greg Gulden