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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Unmasking of Shady Del Knight!

Know how much you love those Seinfeld reruns?

Well, you're gonna love mine, too!
That's right, my fellow Dell rats! The graffiti is on the wall. The robot got it right in my last post when he warned that Shady Dell Music & Memories is coming to an end. It is!


But wait a minute.....dry your eyes, honey chile!
As it turns out Dr. Smith was right, too! It's full speed ahead for Shady Dell Music & Memories in 2011 and beyond!

When I created Shady Dell Music & Memories in 2008 it was never my intention to present it as a typical daily diary style weblog. I envisioned it as an online encyclopedia of sorts - a collection of in depth articles, stories, images and music clips that would serve as a comprehensive reference source for anyone seeking to learn about the Dell, John and Helen Ettline, the couple that owned and operated it, and the music that became popular there. I believe that mission has now been accomplished.

The first chapter of Shady Dell Music & Memories comes to an end with this post, but an exciting new chapter is about to begin! Starting with my next post on Saturday, January 1st, I will be presenting the best of the old and the new. I'll be digging into the archives and reposting evergreens that many of you will be seeing for the first time. There will also be plenty of fresh content including breaking news updates about the Dell, its renovation and its sale, new information about the Dell's history and more vintage photos as they become available. I will also be following new threads provided or inspired by readers like you!

Let me assure you that I have no intention of abandoning the blog or my loyal readers. I will not resort to phoning it in. I won't lose interest and let weeds grow. I will be right here to keep the discussion going as long as there are Dell rats like you who care and want to share.

I have chosen to end this amazing year by letting my friends and followers know who I am, what I stand for, and where I'm coming from. This special Unmasking post is the culmination of a two-and-a-half year fight to save the Dell from demolition and to prevent the Dell and John and Helen Ettline from permanently fading into obscurity. I believe theirs is a story is worth telling. Theirs is a legacy worth preserving.

I said what I came to say. Now it's your turn, citizen. From now on Shady Dell Music & Memories will be transformed into part blog, part feedback forum. Whenever you want to share your memories or introduce a new discussion thread simply submit it in the form of a comment. If you give me enough to work with I'll be able to add my own input and develop it into a new post. Your thoughts, opinions and stories are every bit as important as mine and I will be happy to publish them on the front page. In essence, you will become a guest blogger as did Dell Rat Jerre, Dell Rat Ron, Lynn B., Greg Gulden, Belle Unruh and others.

A few days ago I introduced some of the kind and generous people who helped to make Shady Dell Music & Memories a success. Now, I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Tom Anderson and I.....................


what the???.....

Don't tell me.....

Not another blasted

uploader malfunction!

Please scroll down.




My name is Tom Anderson. (Yeah, I know - shoulda stuck with the first pic!) I have been the author of Shady Dell Music & Memories since its inception in July 2008. Contrary to popular belief I am not Shady Del Knight. Mr. Knight is a character that I created to host the site and tell you about my Dell adventures. I am not into self promotion. I am not
an exhibitionist and it was never my intention to become an escribitionist. For that reason I chose to remain anonymous and let Shady Del Knight do the talking for me.

I got the idea for the Shady Del Knight avatar from Wolfman Jack in American Graffiti. When Curt asks the deejay if he's the Wolfman (the most loved, most influential radio voice in the Valley) Jack denies it, preferring to let the Wolfman remain an enigma, a mystery man who is heard but not seen. To me, Shady Del Knight (or the Dell Knight as some of you call him) is like the Wolfman - a larger than life character,
an ambassador of goodwill, a purveyor of fun and frolic. Shady Del Knight is greater than me, greater than all of us. He symbolizes the Dell spirit that remains alive inside us through our adult years. He represents all Dell rats past and present, the living and the dead. Do you believe in magic?
I do. I also believe in Shady Del Knight. He inspires and empowers me. I hope that he will continue to have the
same effect on you.

Who is the jovial gent with the pipe in his mouth...the one who pops onto your screen like a Jack-in-the-Box whenever you log onto SDM&M? I don't have a clue. Whoever he is or was I hope he doesn't mind that I used his photo to give a face and personality to my Shady Del Knight character.

Luckily for you this is the first and only time that I will disclose my real name or post pictures of myself. I promise that I will not be showing home movies of my second cousin's wedding reception or slides of my visit to Branson! The only excuse I have for boring you with my photos now is because many of you have pestered me repeatedly to post them!

Figure 3-b should serve as a friendly reminder.
Be careful what you wish for!

Figure 3-b

March 2010:
I delivered the keynote address
at the Tony Robbins Invitational in Pacific Palisades, California.

My self help workshop was entitled
"Be Rat Here Rat Now:
Breaking Through to
Rat Thinking and Rat Living."

By the way, Tony, thanks for puttin' the
Vulcan Mind Meld on me. It worked! I expanded my chain of Kool-Aid stands, rode an elevator for the first time, and let a clown kiss me on the cheek. Baby steps, big guy! Rat on, rat on!

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's hit rewind and go all the way back to the beginning. Here, in pictures and words, are some highlights of my youth. As Bill Cosby once said,
"I started out as a child."

July 1950

I was born and raised in York County, Pennsylvania.

Beginning in 1953 with House of Wax, I went to the movies practically every weekend with my older brother and saw hundreds of horror and sci-fi movies during that decade!

Christmas 1956

I attended York Township Elementary.


I went through what can best be described as an awkward stage. Yes, that's me on the left!

During my childhood I enjoyed:

* watching stock car races at Susquehanna Speedway...
* movies at the Stoney Brook and Lincoln drive-in theaters...
* the York Interstate Fair...

I got a basketball jones by age 10 and won a free throw shooting tournament at age 11.


I attended Dallastown Area H.S.

During the early 1960's I enjoyed:

* swimming and girl watching at Zimmy's, Wise Haven & Playland...
* bowling and hanging out at Suburban Bowlerama...
* watching Orioles baseball with Chuck ("Crabs & Bo") Thompson...
* Pete the Pirate on WBAL...
* P.W. Doodle on WBAL...
* The Buddy Deane Show on WJZ...
* and American Bandstand!


I became a Dell rat at age 15 and practically lived at the Dell from fall 1965 through fall 1967.

During the mid 1960's I also enjoyed:

* making the scene at The Oaks and other regional dance clubs.
* frequenting Bud's Drive-in on Violet Hill.
* listening to WSBA radio and deejay Ralph Lockwood.
* Ed Hurst's Steel Pier Show...
* The Lloyd Thaxton Show...
* Where the Action Is.


During my mid teens I also loved:

* Rutter's banana splits & shakes and those great big pretzel rods!
* Gino Giants
* cruisin' the East York loop from Gino's to Avalong Dairy Drive-in.

Summer 1966

In addition to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, these were a few more of my favorite things:

* watching Batman...
* Geator's Discophonic Scene...
* The Monkees...
* late dinner/early breakfast at The Ram (York's Ramona restaurant)...
* catching the latest Russ Meyer flix at the Trail.
(Sorry, mom...the guys made me go!)

June 1969

During my late teens I enjoyed:

* watching The Hy Lit Show...
* Philadelphia Warriors Roller Derby...
* The Banana Splits Show. (Tra-la-la!)

September 1970

During my college years
my interests included:

* amateur moviemaking...
* vacationing in
Myrtle Beach, SC...
* watching Philly horror host Doctor Shock.
(R.I.P. Shocky Doc!)


Our Shady Dell Music & Memories blog is part history book, part personal diary, part True Confessions and yes, part
Mad Magazine. Writing and publishing it has been challenging, rewarding, cathartic, and loads of fun.

I learned a lot about the Dell, about Helen and John, and about myself. I met some wonderful people along the way and forged new friendships.

Over the past two-and-a-half years with the generous help of my friends I have attempted to tell the Shady Dell story as completely and accurately as possible in words, pictures and music.

Together we have exploded myths, solved mysteries, and revealed little known facts about John and Helen and the incomparable oasis they created for generations of young people to enjoy.

Through this blog I have tried to reach back into the past, grab those memories and bring 'em back alive so that they could be reexperienced, not just studied in a detached manner like ancient history.

With each new post I have tried to entertain as well as inform, to leave you with something to think about and something to smile about.

Following John Ettline's example, I kept my virtual Shady Dell open 24-7-365. I even waived the 25 cent admission fee because I regard each one of you as family. I trust that you also noticed and appreciated the fact that I kept the site free of pop-ups, spam, advertising banners and other kinds of clutter.

If there's one thing above all else that I would like you to remember about John and Helen Ettline, it is that they were two of the most generous people you would ever want to meet.

For decades John and Helen opened their doors and opened their hearts. They offered consolation, aid and shelter to girls in trouble and battered women. They lent a sympathic ear to kids with family problems and gave money to friends in need.

Although John and Helen had no children of their own, they treated all of their young Dell guests like family.

They made us feel important
and special.
They gave us
a sense of belonging.

Shady Dell Music & Memories is dedicated to the memory of John and Helen Ettline.

I would also like to dedicate this blog to the memory of my high school friend and Dell rat buddy Dale Gill who was right by my side during many of the Dell experiences that I have shared with you. Gilly, you were a great pal and
I miss you!

In the end I think the most important lesson I learned
by going to the Dell is tolerance.

With teenage patrons from the city, the suburbs and the country converging nightly on 1501 Starcross, the Dell was
a grand experiment...a model...a microcosm of society.

Dell clientele consisted of kids from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. There were long standing school rivalries to contend with, turf wars and love triangles. "Can't we all just get along?" Yes! Most of the time we did. More often than not we heeded the message that David Ruffin so eloquently conveyed:

It takes all kinds of people to make a world.
Oh, yes it does!
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker
The doctor, the teacher, the lawyer and the preacher
It takes the typist, the chauffeur, talkin' 'bout the
real estate broker
The dancer, the singer, the square and the swinger

When will we learn to live together like sisters and brothers?
When will we turn...the tide of hate to loving each other?

Come on and get it together
Open up your mind and you'll discover
That it takes all kinds of people to make a world...

Here's what I learned about Dell rats:

* Dell rats were a hardy, stouthearted breed.
* Dell rats were made of sturdy stuff.

* Dell rats were naughty and nice.
* Dell rats were tough on the outside...tender on the inside.

Dell rats loved:

* Sweet soul music
* Blue-eyed soul
* Churchy, gospel-tinged love ballads
* Classic 1950's
* Blue collar working class anthems
* Seasonal sounds
* Novelty tunes

* Dell rats were not hung up on superstars, supergroups
or million selling hits.
* Dell rats had an affinity for struggling artists and obscure songs that told the truth.
* Dell rats identified with the underdog.
* Dell rats respected the traditions of their Dell predecessors.
* Dell rats respected John and Helen Ettline.

What about The Dell itself? Was it just "a dirty old farm" as Marty Markham first thought?

Point well taken, Master Martin. The Shady Dell wasn't much to look at. The house wasn't the Ritz, the restaurant wasn't

The Rainbow Room, and the dance hall wasn't Studio 54. There was no valet parking. There was no men's room attendant offering scented soaps and fancy colognes.

The Dell was bare bones basic. Dell rats gathered in a modestly appointed barn annex and danced to jukebox records. But the Dell was ours and we loved it!

As I noted from the beginning, this blog wasn't only about the Dell. It was about all things York and York County during the 1950's and 60's. Baltimore and Philly, too!

When I was very young my church held its Sunday school picnics at a place on the north side called White Oak Park.
I loved to go there and ride the merry-go-round and participate in cake walks inside the large pavilion. Years later, I was back at the park when it evolved into The Oaks and hosted weekend dances.

The Oaks had more to offer than the Dell because it boasted live performances by popular local and regional bands. Please watch this fabulous tribute to the Oaks and the bands that played there.

As the end of that video reminds us and as our own Dell Rats Jerre Slaybaugh and Lynn B. explained, many kids capped off a Friday or Saturday night by swinging by the Dell, a teen hideaway that stayed open until the last patron left.

To avoid hassles at home, many kids kept their nocturnal Dell visits a secret. Although the Oaks was somewhat notorious in its own right, at least it had a better reputation than the Dell. Real or imagined, the Oaks was considered safer than the Dell because there was police security on the premises. When the Spring Garden Township cruiser pulled into the Dell parking lot it was never an encouraging sign.

At the Dell you were pretty much on your own. Sometimes the only things that stood between you and a pummeling were your bravado, your wingman, and John Ettline. As we
all know John was a one man swat team who carried a billy club and could take on any bully. Admittedly, there were a few at the Dell. That's why many parents didn't mind if their kids went to the Oaks. They considered the Oaks to be the lesser of two evils, a choice they could live with if it kept their offspring away from the G-D Dell!

Some moms and dads even drove their kids to the Oaks and dropped them off for the evening without worry. I didn't see many parents dropping their kids off at the Dell. Chester and Peg didn't want Babs to come home pregnant or Junior to become a hoodlum. "Stay away from that den of iniquity," most parents warned, "or you're grounded for life!"

Know what I say to that, Dell rats? In the final analysis
I believe that I chose the Dell precisely because it did not earn the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

So what if the Dell failed to win the endorsement of parents, teachers and clergy? At that point in my life I didn't want safe. I wanted adventure. I wanted to test myself. I wanted the Dell!

Wrong side of the tracks?

Damn right, mister...and proud of it!

So c'mon dirty Dell rats.....
Stand up and be counted!

Stick or never!

Be true to the Dell!

When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his hangout is great
I tell him right away
"Now what's the matter buddy
Ain't you heard of the Dell?
It's number one in the state!"
So be true to the Dell now
Just like you would to your girl or guy
Be true to the Dell now
And let your colors fly (black and blue)
Be true to the Dell!

Spread the word...the Rat Pack is back!

The lyrics to the Kiss anthem "Crazy, Crazy Nights" are perfect for revealing how loyal rats feel about the Dell.
Click on the music clip below, scroll down, change a few of the lyrics, and sing along with me to “Shady, Shady Nights!”

Whoo! Here's a little song for all you Dell rats out there
People try to take my soul away
But I don't hear the rap that they all say
They try to tell us we don't belong
That's alright, we're millions strong
This is my music, it makes me proud
These are my people and this is my crowd

These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights
These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights

Sometimes days are so hard to survive, oh yeah
A million ways to bury you alive, hey!
The sun goes down like a bad bad dream
You're wound up tight, gotta let off steam
They say they can break you again and again
If life is a radio, turn it up to ten!

These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights
These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, whoa!

These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, cmon!
These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, yeah, woo!

And they try to tell us that we don't belong
But that's alright, we're millions strong
You are my people, you are my crowd
This is our music, WE LOVE IT LOUD!!!

Yeah, and nobody's gonna change me, 'cos that's who I am, oooh!

These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, whoa yeah!
These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, whoa!

These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, yeah yeah!
These are Shady, Shady, Shady, Shady nights, hey!

(Keep repeating that chant forever, Dell rats!)

Bottom line: Other joints came and went...
but for nearly half a century the Shady Dell was the
greatest hangout in York,
the best in the state,
best in the U.S.A.,
best in the world,
what else ya got?

The Dell was and will always be Number One with a bullet.
Every true Dell rat knows it!

I urge you to remember and put into practice the teachings of our intrepid leader, Shady Del Knight.

Think young, act young, and you will be young. “Grow up!” will be the magpie's incessant chatter. Don’t listen!

I'm proud to be the poster boy for arrested development!

The folks who are always telling you to grow up are the ones who already fell asleep in the cave and went over to the other side to join the pod people. They're lost. They're gone. You can choose not to go with them. Fight the power!

Remember the Dell rat credo:

Never grow up...
never grow old!

“You can’t live in the past,” the skeptics will advise you. Don’t listen! Ask yourself, "what's so great about the present anyway?" The past, after all, is where all your good stuff is kept -
your youthful energy, your optimism, your enthusiasm,
your childlike curiosity, your mojo. Tap into those things every day. Let them empower you!

Get up, get into it, get involved!

Let's shout and turn the joint out!

If you want to combat the aging process and avoid hardening of the attitudes you must declare war!

Tired of living in a cage, Chief?

Tired of living in a box, taking orders and following somebody else's rules?

This ain't livin', Chief. You know it and I know it. We're not gonna take it anymore. It's time for a change, my friend. Time to take the proverbial bull by the horns!

See that hydrotherapy control panel thingy over there, Chief?

I want you to pick it up and throw it through the window. You and I are bustin' out of this L-7 square! Sure, it's hard. Sure, it's heavy...and the sky is blue and the Pope is Catholic and Charlie Daniels plays a mean fiddle! What's that got to do with the price of eggs in China? If you think you can't do it you won't. If you believe you will. Now march on over there, give that bad boy your best bear hug, lift that s.o.b. high off the floor and knock the whole frickin' wall down! You and I got places to go and people to meet, Chief!Let's bounce!

C'mon, Chief! It wasn't so long ago that you couldn't even raise your hand or find your voice. You've come a long way. Don't stop now! That God damn block of stone and steel isn't what's stopping you. You know what's stopping you? I'll tell you what's stopping you, Chief. You're stopping you. All that's standing between you and freedom...all that's preventing you from having the kind of life you want is your own limiting belief. The only thing holding you back is you. How hard it is is irrelevant. All that matters, Chief, is how much you want it!

Don't wait till it's too late, Chief. Do it now!

29 months ago when I started Shady Dell Music & Memories, Shady Del Knight wrote:

More than a place...
the Shady Dell was

 and will forever remain
a state of mind.

From the moment that I became a Dell rat in 1965
I promised myself that I would remain in a Shady Dell
state of mind all my life.

45 years and counting.....

Once a Dell rat...always a Dell rat!

Thank you, Helen.
Thank you, John.
Thanks to all of you, my dear friends!

Happy New Year!
Bless you all...
and may all your days be Shady ones!

Tom Anderson

A little
traveling music,


  1. You are my blog hero Tom. I follow a lot of blogs and yours is like blog perfection. Don't know how long it takes you to put something like todays blog together but all I can say is that you are good my friend. I really enjoyed the memory lane selection of pictures and am ready for the next installment of the Shady Del series. Thanks for all your effort and hard work. I certainly enjoy everything you do.

  2. Wonderful post...So awfully glad your not leaving and may I say what a handsome gent you truly are.Have a delightful new year.

  3. Tom,

    Just finished your excellent SDM&M blog. Read it word for word... start to finish. I was born near the end of 1951 and grew up across the river in Lancaster (a city boy). I attended (and played in bands) at just about every dance and teen event that Lancaster had to offer at the time. Sadly, I never made it over to The Shady Dell, as it was just slightly before my time. Didn't get my learner's permit (to drive) until November of '67 - so York was out of reach. But, after reading your wonderful blog, it's almost as though I, too, (mis)spent my youth there. The excellent vintage photos and precise commentary made it crystal clear. Through the years I've often heard that going to The Dell was risky, at best...that if you danced with the wrong girl or stepped on the wrong foot, you stood the chance of getting your ass kicked royally. Obviously there was truth behind that old urban legend. Yet, back then, a black eye, a bloody nose, a missing tooth (or two) or a few stitches seemed to be somewhat of a "rite of passage". Not like today where it's...BANG! BANG! - see ya in the weeds. The extreme violence that permeates through today's society would never allow a place like Shady Dell, or even White Oak Park dances to exist and thrive. What a shame! Today's youth have no idea what they're missing (or missed). Thanks for sharing these treasured memories. Anyone can certainly tell that this was (and is) a complete & total labor of love for you. The long awaited unmasking was ultra-cool. Loved the pics!!! You're quite the handsome little devil, aren't you?! Keep up the great work, Tom.

  4. i wish i could speak english like i speak italian to tell you how much i loved that post!
    i'm glad to know you're not leaving the blog,and i must admit you're a super handsome gentleman,and a really nice person to know.happy new year my friend

  5. Great post Tom!!! Sorry to say that I do not recognize you from the pictures. I'm sure we must have played B-ball at Zimmies together or least saw each other at the Ramona. The Oaks clips were great. The picture of the Del Chords brought back memories of old friends like Cheeks and Ernie Banks. I played alot of ball and pool with Ernie. The picture of the British Walkers looked just like my worn out shoes. Remembering the past that we shared has been a blast. I am glad that I am not the one that gave you the bloody nose and don't tell my mother but we might have shared some time at the Trail. Have a great new year! Jerre

  6. it was fun taking a trip down memory lane with you. Cant wait see wait 2011 has in store!

  7. I knew about the Dell and White Oaks but "mamma wouldn't let me out" to go have any fun ! :( Oh well. Now I'm way old enough and I'll have fun if I want and don't have to answer to her or anyone else for that matter.

    Nice blog, I know you're close to where I live now and it's nice starting a new Christmas tradition. haha.

    Huggs and keep in touch,

  8. Hey! I wouldn't mind seeing pictures of your second cousin's wedding reception! Bring it on!

    Seriously, I am glad you are going to re-post. I'm looking forward to seeing the one on Bobby Rydell. Oh, and you are one handsome guy, Tom. I hope you will start another blog now on your life stories.

    I'm especially glad the Shady Dell has been saved from bulldozers and is now being renovated. Good for you.

  9. nice to know who you really are, finally:-). By the way, I love Seinfeld, the show got better and better with every season (f.ex. Puertorican day - best episode). On the other hand, my husband adores Dirty Dozen, especially for the stunning performance by John Cassavetes and Ernest Borgnine.

  10. Well congrats Mr. Anderson! How exciting for you to be starting this new chapter in your bloging journey... I wish you all the best and will be here, just like before! I am glad you're not giving up blogging because you are really very talented and a truly inspiring person. Your kindness have absolutely blown me away. I've had many people visit my blog, but you Mr. Anderson have got to be one of my kindest visitors. When I see that you have left me a comment, I can't help but smile! You should be so proud of yourself for being a good soul in a world full of (many) not so good ones.

    Congrats again and this was a very interesting as well as monumental post. I enjoyed it quite very much!

    P.S. I see that you liked the Monkees in your teens. I actually went to their concert a year or so ago! It was pretty fantastic to say the least!

  11. Hi there Tom. (Gosh, that sounds really strange after calling you Shady for all this time!!). First of all, I am SO sorry that I am late in commenting on what was such an important post from you. I was travelling all day yesterday - hence the delay. That post was absolutely awesome, and so very clever. You certainly kept us guessing, by posting up all those photos, when we were waiting for the REAL you. It was lovely to see the real you Tom, and I have to say that you are a lot younger looking than I had expected you to look - seriously. I guessed from your memories that you must be about my age, but you're looking pretty good. Like Odie, I do thank you for all the hard work you have put into your posts. Goodness knows how much time each post must have taken you. I shall miss hearing from you on a daily basis. Take care kind man.

  12. Well hello-hello Mr. Anderson!
    This is a mega post indeed...but I'm glad to find out more about you~
    Hope you have an even better 2011!!
    ~xo as always*

  13. I must admit you scared me there, with all that talk about shutting down Music and Memories! But I am delighted and relieved to hear otherwise. And it was a pleasure to meet the man behind Shady Del Knight, who always brings a smile to my face. I can't wait to see what comes next, you are so creative and knowledgeable, it is bound to be great! Have a happy new year Tom.

  14. Oh I'm glad you saw the award! I meant to tell y'all about it last night but I was just so tired. You are most deserving of this award: your blog is truly one of my favorites! And I wanted to tell you I loved the inclusion of Chief Bromden in your post. He is such a great character. Mr. Kesey was a genius. And as are you Shady Del.

  15. You know, the guy in that last blog looks just like you, only older. You did a nice job, very entertaining, a beautiful overview of our two most favorite haunts in the York area. I don't think you could have done it any better. I'll give it a '5', because it's easy to dance to, it has a good beat, the lyrics really "say something" and the lead vocal and harmonies can't be topped.

    Have a very happy new year ahead, my friend.

  16. Odie -
    Gingey -
    Daddy C -
    Katia -
    Jerre -
    Amber -
    Jody -
    Belle -
    Wanilianna -
    Lauren -
    Thisisme -
    Lenore -
    Alabee -
    Ron -

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments! They are deeply appreciated. I am blessed to have friends like you. May health and happiness be yours in the coming year!

  17. I really enjoyed reading about your life and the unmasking of 'Shady' =) It felt like one of those 'superhero moments' when their identity is finally revealed!

    It was a pleasure to meet 'Shady', but it is also one to now know Tom.
    Thank you so much for the very sweet comment, my bestest wishes are with you for 2011 and beyond.


    p.s. I liked the Kiss band reference in your newest post!

  18. Leanne - Thank you so much for your generosity. The feeling is indeed mutual. It is a great pleasure to know you. Happy new year to you, my dear Liverpool friend!

  19. Great to see the man behind the Knight :) I feel blessed to have been there for the last days of The Shady Dell~

  20. Lubie - I just now checked back to this post and found your comment. I am so pleased that you visited at the right moment and got a chance to "meet" me. You have a special place in the history of the Shady Dell as one of the last to experience its magic and John's charisma and benevolence. Thank you very much for your comment, dear Lubie, and all the best in 2011!

  21. Wow, Shady, err, Tom, err, Shady, well, my good friend at any rate, a most enjoyable post!

    I realize I am commenting on this long after the fact, but it was a wonderful read and very interesting. I am very impressed with how much time you put into compiling your posts. I think that's why so many enjoy reading them, because they know the care that's been put into them.

  22. Shelly - Thank you very much! I realize that I defy the rules of good blogging by making the majority of my posts much longer than what is considered normal. People are busy and I am constantly aware of that. It makes it that much more meaningful to me when my friends take the time to read and appreciate my posts. I recently slowed down the rate of publishing from every three days to twice a week. That gives me more time to prepare posts and gives subscribers more time to read them. Thank you very much for taking an interest in who and what I am, dear friend Shelly!

  23. Hi Tom...
    I'm just getting around to putting the link in the browser and what to my delight...Shady unmasked! Why you handsome devil you! What a very ingenious way to lead us to you. I'm glad you aren't Alfred E Newman. You are way out of his league. Whatever your mask, your blog and your music show us your heart and soul. You do bring joy to so many along with memories and sounds that keep us young. I'm with you...its how you live your life that determines your youth!

    Thank you for the link...and for all the lovely musical memories, sights and sounds of an era of yesteryear!


  24. Sush - Hello, dear friend! This is such a sweet message from you and I deeply appreciate it! You are a very wise soul for being able to peek beneath the mask, read between the lines, and really get what I'm all about. The qualities that you recognize in me are the same qualities that are within you. It is a sincere pleasure to know somebody like you. Thank you very much for your kindness, dear Sush!

  25. Tom, well ... as I have mentioned before, I get around and I confess I have seen your wonderful family photos and your unmasking before on this post. I had wondered about referring to you as Tom but when I type the name "Shady" I would realize Tom was behind the jovial pipe smokin' guy named Shady Del Knight. I really enjoyed seeing your photos. It looks like you had a wonderful upbringing and childhood. That was a neat shot of you through the basketball hoop, I bet your dad took that photo.

    Thank you, Tom, for being such a faithful blog friend.

  26. :) Same to you, dear friend, Cindy! Please feel free to go right on calling me Shady if you wish because it warms my heart coming from you. I should have known that you were way ahead of me on this - that you already visited this page and read this ultra long post weeks or months ago. You have proven yourself to be the kind of blogger who does lots of digging and research and homework. It's evident because you always leave intelligent comments. Thank you and bless your heart, my wonderful friend, Cindy!

  27. Dear Tom,
    What a beautiful way to share your true identity. The more I read here, the more I am intrigued by the story of the Dell. And I especially appreciate your anti aging philosophy; it is apparently serving you well! I too, suffer from arrested development including a chronic case of unresolved identity crisis. In my youth I had no Shady Dell, but now I do! So I'll dance here in the hopes that I find another piece of the puzzle. Your life's journey is beautifully chronicled through the pictures and stories you've shared. It calls me to think deeply about memories that are worth saving and sharing. And though the Dell is surely a memory worth revealing and resurrecting, your personal story of your relationship to it is where the heart of SDM&M lies. Through your lens I can see, feel and hear something that I never new existed. Have you considered writing this as a screenplay?

  28. Jenny - Thank you very much for following through, delving into my archives, and taking a genuine interest in the Shady Dell and in me! I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know that you get what the Dell was all about and its profound impact on my life.

    I hereby officially welcome you as the newest member of our Dell rat pack. Our virtual Shady Dell is your home away from home whenever you want it to be. Your time is just as important to me as it is to you. Whenever you visit you will receive a warm welcome and personalized attention. I will see to it that you leave here feeling happier, more energetic and more empowered than you did when you arrived.

    You are not the first friend to ask if I ever considered turning the Dell story into a screenplay. I am flattered and I admit that I have thought about it. Call it a pipe dream if you will.

    Jenny, thank you again for your kindness, dear friend. By setting aside time during your busy day to locate this old post and allow me to introduce you to the humble man behind the pompous pipemouth, you have revealed your own greatness. Simply put, I am thrilled to have discovered a friend of your caliber and I look forward to learning more about your past, present and hopes for the future. Have an excellent day and week, dear Jenny!

  29. Dear Tom, What you have just written has left me a little speechless. I'm so thankful to have a piece of my identity uncovered... a Dell Rat! Now I have more energy in my steps and a little more purpose because of what that really means. I accept this honor with humility and joy! And Tom, don't let the screenplay be a pipe dream. If you would write three pages a day, every day from your memory, one day it would all come together in such a beautiful way that there's no way it could fail. Can't you see the characters on the screen just now? For those who are arriving now, we need a bigger place.

  30. Ah, there you are, my all your glory!

    What a lovely thing it is that you have made this wonderful place to celebrate memories and music. Keep up the good work, and I'm hoping you can overlook my geographic shortcomings and allow me to be a Dell rat by proxy.

    Go forth and subdue mediocrity!

    1. Hello, dear Cherdo! My goodness, I'm surprised to see you here in my back pages. As I'm sure you noticed, this extremely long "Unmasking" post was published at the end of 2010. At the time I planned to make it my last post with fresh content. Believing that I had run out of ideas and material, I was planning to "retire" the blog at this point and go into reruns. Obviously, I was very shortsighted because there have been many huge developments in the Shady Dell saga since then. I have also discovered many more excellent recordings to review and have made many new friends since then. I am especially excited about adding you as a friend, Cherdo, and it means a great deal to me that you are taking an interest in me, my life and my blog. Thank you very much, my dear friend, for your kind comment. I'll talk to you again soon!

  31. Very cool to learn so much more! I followed the link that you left on a comment in your most recent thread. It was fun to get more background on your story and about Shady Dell.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi, Lee! Sorry I'm just now finding your comment. You have Debbie to thank for that. I'm pleased to know that you are enjoying yourself on SDMM and I am glad to have you as a friend. Take care, Lee!

  32. WOW! I stumbled upon this link coincidentally, while searching for a Shady Dell account on Twitter (didn't find one). What a fabulous post!! Must have taken you a long time to put this together. It's a great pleasure getting to know more about the real you, Shady, er, I mean Tom. Fascinating history of the Shady Dell as well.

    1. Hi again, dear Debbie! I am thrilled to know that you are interested enough in me to delve into older posts like this one. This post was intended to be my "farewell address." At the time I wrote it (and yes, it took many weeks of work) I thought that I had had nothing more to say about the Shady Dell and no more memories of my youth to share. Suddenly, my blog membership started to increase rapidly and I found a group of friends who inspired me to continue. I'm very glad I did because, in the years that followed, I met dozens more great people (like you) and formed what I hope will be lifelong friendships with them. I also learned tons more about the history of the Shady Dell through a woman named Kathleen Mae Schneider whose mother, Margaret, now age 103, is the last surviving member of the family that first lived at the Dell when it was brand new. Margaret was born in 1912, the same year her father built the Dell. The family moved onto the estate in 1913. You will be able to follow Margaret's stories about life at the Dell in the early part of the 20th century through daughter Kathleen's blog series "In-Dell-ible Memories" exclusively here on SDMM.

      Debbie, thank you very very much for taking time to dig deeper into what this is all about. I am very excited to have you as a new friend. Bless you! See you soon!

  33. Whew, what a fun and interesting tribute to Dell Rats everywhere! I won't pet or feed any animal that makes me uncomfortable and that steer makes me squirm. I don't think I'd stand close to it as you were and to offer it an apple? Nope, nope, nope! It's just not gonna happen. lol I appreciate you sharing the picture, though. Actually, I enjoyed walking down "your" photo memory lane. You have a gift of story telling which reels me in the moment and makes me feel like I lived it. :)


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