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!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Remembering John


On January 16, 1993...

23 years ago today...


John Ettline passed away.

John spent the last nine years of his life
without his wife Helen. Imagine the strength
and courage it took for John, a man in his 80s,
to go it alone, endure the hardships of winter
and keep the Shady Dell in operation even as
teenage patrons became increasingly rough,
rowdy and disrespectful. How many of us
could have stood up to that challenge?


 Please listen to this song 

 as we honor the memory 

 of Mr. John Ettline. 





 John, you were the King of all Dell Rats

 If we have anything to say about it 

 you and Helen will always be remembered. 


 We love you and miss you, John! 


54 comments:

  1. Great tribute, Mr. Shady ... my brother picked this song for his memorial ... Love, cat.

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    1. Thank you, dear cat!

      I use the song "My Way" every year at this time in paying tribute to John Ettline, but this is the first time I posted a performance by the man who wrote the song, Ottawa born Paul Anka.

      Thank you for your comment and love to you, my dear friend!

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  2. Great tribute, dear friend. Mr. Ettline sounded like an amazing man that was a lot of fun. Wonderful song as well.

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    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thank you for coming to help me pay tribute to John. The first three months of every year encompass the birth and death dates of John and Helen Ettline and I intend to keep remembering them on those dates for as long as SDMM exists. I'm glad you like the song "My Way," a major hit for Frank Sinatra.

      Enjoy your weekend, dear friend JM!

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  3. I knew that Paul Anka wrote My Way--but I don't think I ever heard him sing it. It's nice of you to remember John every year at this time. Thank you for keeping the memories alive year after year!

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    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thank you for taking time to pay your respects to John Ettline this year.

      Yessum, Canadian born teen singing idol Paul Anka penned "My Way"and gave it to Sinatra who turned it into a hit recording and one of his signature songs. I decided to use Paul's version this year for a change.

      Thank you again for your comment, dear Kathryn!

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  4. Such a beautiful song and wonderful memory and tribute. I know the Ettlines had no children of their own, but I bet they would be so pleased to know that the children of others have remembered them so fondly. I'm sure they know of your devotion to keep their memory and all the wonderful ways they shaped young folks lives, in the forefront for us. He lived a long life and sadly had to spend those last years alone. I hope they are together forever now. Have a good weekend Tom!

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    1. Hi, dear YaYa!

      Thank you very much for coming by again this year, as you have in years past, to pay your respects to John. By now you are an expert on the topic of Shady Dell and quite familiar with the main characters in the Dell story. Helen Ettline was only a year older than our good friend Margaret Schneider and John only a few years older. It's wonderful to know that Margaret is still with us. I wish the Ettlines were still here to witness our annual celebrations of their lives and their gifts.

      Thank you again, dear friend YaYa. Bundle up and have a safe and happy Ohio weekend!

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  5. Wish I had something to say of value here... other than, he is a fortunate soul to have someone like you to memorialize him.

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    1. Hi, Chris!

      That's mighty nice of you, good buddy. Your words always have value and I appreciate them.

      John died one week after Helen's birthday and Dell rats can't help wondering how much of an impact it had on him to observe her birthdays and death dates over the nine years leading up to his death. It must have been very tough.

      Thanks again for the kind words, good buddy Chris. I hope you and Scrappy are having a fine weekend!

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  6. What a wonderful tribute. He sounds like an amazing individual.

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    1. Hi, Sandra!

      Thanks for coming dear friend! Yessum, John Ettline was an amazing individual. I am happy to have you as a new friend and follower as we move through the first three months of the year, observing the birth and death dates of John and Helen Ettline. These special tribute posts will allow new friends like you to become acquainted with the principal characters in the Shady Dell story.

      Thank you again for joining me, dear friend Sandra, and have a wonderful weekend!

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  7. What a lovely post about your friend. Good memories.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Hi, Gayle! Hi, U thehamish!

      Thank you very much for the kind words, dear friends.

      John Ettline was a friend and more. Dell rats regarded him as a father or grandfather and Helen as a mother or grandmother. Kids thought of the Ettlines' Shady Dell as their home away from home.

      Thank you for joining me for this special tribute, dear friend Gayle, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  8. Such a beautiful post and what a good heart he had since you still honour his memory. I love that you have this song to represent him because didn't Paul write this actual song?

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    1. Hi, dear Birgit!

      Thank you very much for coming down to join me as I remember Shady Dell owner John Ettline. He was a man with a good heart, strength and courage. I will continue to honor his memory year after year as long as I keep SDMM in operation.

      Yessum, Canadian Paul Anka wrote "My Way" and I thought he did a fine job singing it in this video.

      Thank you again for being here, dear friend BB. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  9. And just this January, David Bowie, Alan Rickman. My heart broke for Alan Rickman. I'm a fan of his work especially of his character Snape for Harry Potter. He gave justice to the character.

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    1. Hi, dear Lux!

      Thank you for being here today for this tribute to John Ettline, owner of the Shady Dell.

      Yessum, it is staggering to review the list of people we lose every year, the celebrities known to millions and the people in our personal lives who mattered and influenced us. John Ettline didn't achieve international fame, but he was King of the Dell Rats and we will continue to remember and honor him.

      Thanks again for dropping in, dear friend Lux!

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  10. What a nice tribute to John. That had to be a rough nine years, doing without his partner, both in the Shady Dell and in life. He was obviously a very strong man.

    Great song to use in your tribute. And I liked seeing Paul Anka doing that song!

    Enjoy your Sunday Shady. I'll be watching the Pittsburg game. You too??

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Hi, dear Michele!

      Thank you very much for paying respects to John Ettline today.

      The Dell stood on a PA hillside and in winter when snow and ice accumulated the footing and driving were treacherous. I can picture John enduring those last nine years in that environment alone without his life partner Helen. Dell rats speculate that John was pining for her in the week following her birthday (see previous post) when he died. It was much the same with my own dad. He survived 7 years after my mother died. She was hospitalized on Valentine's Day and died a day later. He never had the chance to give her the V-day card that he bought for her. He died Christmas day. My point is that holidays, birth dates and anniversaries of a loved one's death can have a tremendous impact on us and might even hasten our own demise if we dwell on our loss.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me, dear friend Michele. Have a wonderful week!

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  11. Yes, Tom, holidays are difficult times when we have lost someone we love. They are never the same again.

    I admire John for his character and the love that came through that helped so many young people.

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    1. Hi, Belle!

      How are you this evening, my wonderful friend? Thank you for being here again this year as we observe the anniversary of John's death. John was a rock solid individual, a symbol of strength, yet I could always see the kindness and caring in his eyes. Teenagers have radar for people like John and Helen. They gravitated to the Ettlines and felt safe with them.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts about John, dear friend Belle. I wish you a safe and happy week ahead!

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  12. Great tribute. Good that you're writing to keep the fire burning!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out
    &
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Hi, Lee!

      Thank you for the kind visit and comment, good buddy. In the coming weeks and months I will be sharing more memories of John and Helen Ettline. Some of the testimony will come from other original Dell rats. I know you will enjoy learning more about this wonderful mom and pop couple who ran the Dell.

      Have a great week, Lee!

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  13. Tom, what a sweet tribute to someone who meant a lot to you and the Shady Dell Pack. John must have loved what he did to keep things going even after his beloved passed. Thanks for sharing this tender post and oh, the song is beautifully perfect!

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    1. Hi, dear Cathy!

      Thank you for joining me this evening, dear friend! It's very nice of you to come by and help me pay tribute to John Ettline.

      Here's something many Dell rats think about. After owning and operating the Shady Dell more than 45 years, John finally closed our favorite hangout in the fall of 1991. He died a little over a year later. Dell rats can't help wondering if giving up and closing the doors on his dream hastened his demise - that and the absence of Helen in his life. It seems likely, doesn't it?

      I'm glad you appreciated Paul Anka's version of "My Way." For years I have been posting videos of Sinatra singing the song and I decided to go with Paul's performance this time.

      Your visit and kind comment mean a lot to me, dear friend Cathy. Thank you again and have a wonderful week ahead!

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  14. Such a touching tribute, my friend :-) Would that more of us could leave such treasured footprints on the hearts of others. "Let us live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry" ~ Mark Twain

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  15. Hi, dear Diedre!

    Thank you for being here for my observance of the anniversary of John Ettline's death 23 years ago. I also thank you for offering that inspiring quote by Mark Twain which is ideal for the occasion.

    I very much appreciate the extra effort and care that you put into your comments, dear friend Diedre. Bless you and have a wonderful week ahead!

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  16. Hope your day is going well, Shady.

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    1. It is, Sandra, and I hope yours is, too.

      Thank you, dear friend!

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  17. It's true, John did put up with a lot of disrespectful teens in the lasts years of the Dells existence. Hopefully the joy he receive in the hay days made up for it! I know you admired him greatly as well as so many others, Shady.
    Wonderful tribute ! RIP, dear John!
    Toni Deroche

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    1. Hi, dear Toni!

      How are you today? Thanks for dropping by again this year for my tribute to John on the anniversary of his death. You and I both know that real, true blue Dell rats would never disrespect John, but reliable sources have informed us that some teenagers who hung out at the Dell those last few years gave John problems. That along with the loss of Helen and his advanced age led John to call it quits in the fall of 1991. He died in January a little more than a year later. The Chuck Willis song "What Am I Living For" comes to mind.

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear friend Toni, and have a terrific week!

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  18. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJanuary 18, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    Thank you for this touching post, Tom.

    I hope in those final days and nights in the winter of John's life, he could look beyond his pain at losing Helen, the rudeness of the newer generation of teenagers (whose loss it was to not recognize his unique gifts and authenticity), and his own failing health.

    I hope he was soothed by remembering back to his vigorous and productive years with Helen at his side, and their Shady Dell humming with activity from the hundreds of "children" that they delighted in guiding through their teen years. I'd like to think he was comforted by those recollections and the knowledge of a job well done and a life well-lived. That excellence was his way - the only one he knew.

    As I hear about all the youth around the world who are becoming radicalized to do unspeakably terrible things, I wonder what would have happened to many of them, and if their lives would have turned out differently had they known and grown to love a man like John Ettline. What a pity there are so few like him today!

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    1. Hi, dear Kathleen!

      I am very pleased to see you on this special occasion as we mark another calendar year without the King of the Dell Rats, Mr. John Ettline.

      It hurts me, it hurts all Dell rats, to think of John being disrespected by rowdy teenage guests in the last years of the Shady Dell. John sacrificed for decades to give youth a home away from home. He deserved better - much better. At times like this, the anniversary of his death, many of us ask "what if?" It truly is a shame there aren't many people like John and Helen left in this world to offer wisdom and guidance to the youth of the world. Thank goodness we still have another fine individual of their generation, your mother, Margaret, to teach and inspire us.

      Thank you very much for being on hand again this year, a cherished member of the Dell family in your own right, to remember John and the way we were with him as a role model.

      Have a wonderful week, dear Kathleen. Please give our love to Mother Margaret and come back and see us again soon.

      God bless!

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  19. This is a nice tribute, Shady. After reading your posts about the Etlines all these years, I have to agree with Kathleen's comment above - What a pity there are so few like him today!

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    1. Hi, Ashton!

      Thank you very much for being here for this year's post remembering John Ettline on the anniversary of his death. It amazes me how the years roll by.

      I'm pleased to know that you read Kathleen Schneider's comment and were inspired by her musings. The world would indeed be a better place with more people like John and Helen in it.

      Thank you again for paying your respects to John, dear friend Ashton, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  20. Such a lovely tribute, Shady. It sounds like John Ettline had a rough time towards the end. He was obviously a brave man and close to your heart. May he R.I.P.

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    1. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

      Thank you very much for being here to help me pay tribute to John Ettline 23 years after his death. Dell rats faithful and true loved and respected John. It is hard for us to believe that such a great man, a man who loved to entertain, a man who had no children of his own but welcomed kids into his home and treated them as his own, would have to endure disrespect in the last few years of his life. He was indeed a brave man, a strong man and a proud man. He did everything he could as long as he could to keep the Dell alive. It must have been a very hard day when John closed the doors of the Dell for good.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts about John, dear friend Debbie, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  21. Sadly, it's a sign of the times. Kids are no longer taught proper manners, it seems. Too bad things had to end that way for John Ettline and The Shady Dell, but you're doing a wonderful job keeping all the good memories alive, Tom. Have a good night, my friend.

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    1. Hi again, dear friend Debbie the Doglady!

      One of the characters on an episode of American Horror Story spoke to this, saying that too many members of younger generations were raised with a sense of entitlement. They were awarded a medal just for showing up and never taught to have empathy for others, especially older generations. It should never have happened to a great man like John - a man who would escort his teenage patrons to the parking lot at night to ensure their safety. On bitter cold winter nights John made sure kids could start their cars and pull out of snow drifts. John did whatever it took to help, shoveling snow, scraping ice off windshields, bringing jumper cables and starting their cars. John cared. John walked his talk. He deserved only love and respect.

      Thank you very much for all that you expressed here, my dear friend. "It takes all kinds of people to make a world," David Ruffin sang. You are my kind of people, Debbie. :) Enjoy the rest of your week!

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    2. I think that's so true, about the sense of entitlement and lack of empathy! It sounds like John was a wonderful father figure to the Dell Rats. A pity that times have changed and for the worst, in many cases.

      You're my kind of people too. Cheers! ☺

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    3. Thank you for another cheery message, dear friend Debbie, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  22. Great tribute. He touched your life and many others and you fondly remember him.

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    1. Thank you, Mike!

      As you well know the reaper has been busy these last few weeks, harvesting rock icons, actors and sports legends. John Ettline was not rich and famous but he was idolized by the teenage clientele at the Shady Dell. That mentality held up through the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Sometime during the 80s it changed and punks with no sense of Dell history and no respect for John made the place their hangout. It was the final sad chapter in the life of the Dell and of John Ettline.

      Thanks again for dropping by, good buddy Mike!

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  23. He was strong man and he is the great example for us how strong can be any of us.

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    1. Hi, Peter!

      Welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am very pleased to know you arrived in time to meet John Ettline, "King of the Dell Rats." Thank you for expressing kind words about John. I hope to see you back here again soon, Peter!

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  24. I was rereading your side bar info on Helen and John. It sounds like they were both quiet heroes. And heroes are hard to find.

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    1. Hi, dear Sandra!

      Your interest in the Dell story and the Ettlines pleases me, dear friend. They were indeed heroes, quiet heroes who rolled up their sleeves and got involved in the lives of teenagers, giving them a place to go, a home away from home, a space to call their own. They took in battered women and runaways and offered them shelter and safety in the 3rd floor attic of the Dell house. They supported local athletic teams and honored our nation's armed forces which included quite a few alumni of Shady Dell. Occasionally I saw men in uniform, home on leave, sitting at the lunch counter chatting and reminiscing with John and Helen.

      Thank you for adding to the discussion today, dear friend Sandra!

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  25. This was a very nice tribute to John! I couldn't imagine being in my eighties and dealing with some of the rude behavior of teens. He was a brave man. May he rest in peace!

    Enjoy your week!

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    1. Hi, dear Sherry!

      It's so nice of you to visit and share your thoughts about Dell owner John Ettline. Teenagers of my generation would never have thought of talking back, challenging or otherwise disrespecting John. He earned our respect every single day. It was a terrible injustice for him to endure rowdy, disrespectful crowds late in his life after all he had done for the youth of the community.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Sherry, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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  26. What a legacy he kept with. It's probably what kept him going. I couldn't imagine the passing of a loving and adoring spouse. It's difficult enough to deal with when a parent dies.

    So sad that as the years went on, it probably became harder, as you say, with youths becoming rough, rowdy and disrespectful.

    Great tribute.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi, Jeffrey!

      Thank you very much for coming by to say a few kind words about Dell owner John Ettline. I appreciate it, good buddy!

      It seems likely that when John "lost his dream," meaning had to call it quits and close the Dell, he lost the will to go on. If Helen had still been alive at that point, he might have lasted years longer. Surely it didn't help matters to know that the glory days of the Dell were long gone and the latest crop of punks that hung out there had no love for the place or its history.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful visit and comment, good buddy Jeffrey, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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