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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Remembering Helen

Helen Trostle Ettline

passed away 28 years ago today on February 25th, 1984.

Things to know and remember about Helen:

* Helen was real people.

* Helen was genuine.

* With Helen, what you saw was what you got.

* Helen was never afraid to speak her mind.

* Helen had the warmest smile around and when she smiled there was always a twinkle in her eye.

 * Helen could not have children of her own but she loved young people and welcomed generations of them into her home and into her life.

Every evening while Helen presided over the Shady Dell's snack bar...

and Dell rats occupied booths and whiled away the hours feeding their faces and gabbing...

and the pinball machine near the rear door buoyed spirits with its incessant dinging and popping...

the jukebox at the end of the counter next to the ladies' room door played a steady stream of doo-wop oldies.

I chose this song because it reminds me of that very special woman, the first lady of the Shady Dell, Helen Ettline. 

 Helen, this one's for you.

Unforgettable, Helen.

That's what you are!

We love you and miss you.


  1. Every time you have a tribute to Helen I wish more that I could have known her too. The song was so appropriate and one of my all time favorite artists too.
    After all the wind and rain it is a gorgeous day here in NC even if it is starting out on the cooler side. Hope you have a marvelous day and weekend.

  2. Thanks, Odie! You would have loved Helen's cooking and her soda fountain treats including Cherry Cokes. I sure did. She was a terrific lady and I know that she appreciates your visit and comments.

  3. I am like Odie. I wish I had known her. She's the type of person who take something difficult (not being able to have children of her own) and turns it into a huge positive that's still reaping benefits today. Our world is a richer place because of people like the Ettlines.

    Even though I didn't get to know them in real life, I'm so happy that we get to know her and John through your loving posts. I know she's proud of you, my friend.

  4. Shelly, you are such a dear friend! You are getting the message that I've been trying to transmit for nearly four years. The Ettlines were a vanishing breed even way back then. They got up, got into it and got involved. Whenever and wherever they saw need they stepped in to help. I'm sure the ripple effect of their goodness is still being manifested in ways we can't even fathom. Thank you very much, dear Shelly, and stay tuned for the unveiling of the brand new Shady Dell (post renovation) coming VERY soon!

  5. Hi dear Tom. I always love the tributes that you write for Helen and John, and I think it's wonderful how you keep their memory alive like this. Wonderful photos today and such a fitting song choice . Hope you're having a good weekend. We took Alfred to the beach this morning , and he had a wonderful time !

  6. Hi, Thisisme! Thank you for your kind comments. I want you to compare these old Dell photos with the ones you will see a couple of days from now when I present the all new Shady Dell. You won't believe your eyes! If you took Alfred to the beach it must mean that the weather's cooperating. I hope that's the case. Thank you again, dear friend, for being here for Helen and for me!

  7. Good morning, Shady. It is wonderful you have never forgotten Helen and John and all they did for you. Teens want to be accepted and listened to and they provided that for the teens in your area. What a gift they were.

    It seems Helen was a second mother to many who went to the Dell. She has left a great legacy in the young people she helped. How beautiful it is to be remembered with love and gratitude.

  8. Thank you, dear Belle! Helen listened without judging or preaching. John was the same way. They were older than our parents but we felt more comfortable going to them with our problems. I miss Helen and John. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of them and what they meant to me. Thanks again, my dear friend Belle, for coming to share your thoughts. Have a wonderful afternoon and evening!

  9. I love this Shady. Looks like this is the week to remember some wonderful people in our lives...Smile!

  10. BB - You got that right! I'm fascinated by the story you posted on your blog today. I've had many similar experiences and they tend to occur in clusters like that. Thank you for coming over to say a few kind words as we remember a great lady, Helen Ettline. Have a wonderful weekend, Barb!

  11. Dear Tom,
    Helen holds a tender place in my heart through your words and pictures. What an extraordinary gift to know her through your memory. This week our 91 year old neighbor and friend is living in that liminal space and looking towards God's golden shore. The people of Helen's generation are truly good and admirable people. People who love in a big way, people who knew hardship and sacrifice but who kept living and appreciating all the good.

  12. Another lovely tribute to clearly a fine woman Tom! And the perfect song to dedicate to someone who meant so much to so many people.

    I hope you're having a nice weekend in Florida!

    Emma x

  13. Jenny - You are wise and articulate and your words today are very much appreciated. My father was a few years younger than John Ettline and a couple years younger than Helen. He waved at strangers just because. He went out of his way to help people. He gave 100% all the time. He loved life's simplest pleasures, looked for beauty wherever he went... found it in nature... and photographed it. My mother, a few more years younger than any of the above, nevertheless shared those same traits and values. A product of The Great Depression she practiced thrift even when there was abundance. She taught me to accept, embrace and love people of all colors and creeds. That's where I'm coming from here on SDMM. I'm trying in some small way to model the best qualities of my parents and the Ettlines. Thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear Jenny!

  14. Hello dear Emma! Thank you very much for coming to pay tribute to Helen. I was happy to find this song and video for Helen. It comes and goes on YouTube and you never know how long it will remain available before somebody decides it must be removed for whatever reason. I am enjoying the slight cool down here in Florida but it won't last. The heat will soon be back in full force. I hope your winter in Ireland wasn't too rough and that you are fit as a fiddle these days. Thank you again for being here, Emma. Your friendship means a great deal to me!

  15. I'll look forward to seeing the brand new Shady Dell, though how I wish sometimes I could transport myself back to the old Dell and have one of Helen's sandwiches served in those red plastic baskets lined with waxed paper, have a conversation with her and play the pinball machine again. Yes, Helen is missed, and she truly is "unforgettable". An excellent choice, my friend. I thought your description of your parents was excellent as well. So often our thoughts of parents can be too subjective. Have a great week, my friend!

  16. Hi, Ron!

    I remember those red plastic baskets. I usually ordered a large sub from Helen and she always served it in one of those baskets. You will not believe your eyes when you peek inside the Dell tomorrow and see the massive changes. Purists who wish the Dell could have remained unchanged need to remember that the whole place might have been bulldozed by now if not for our friends The Deroches who have owned the Dell for the last few years and have done more than anybody else to ensure its long term preservation. Thanks for coming, Ron, and I'll see you back here tomorrow, good buddy!

  17. I remember your post about Helen from last year and it thought it was so touching. Not much has changed. These pictures of the Del are amazing, such a cool place.

  18. Kelly-Marie - Hello again, dear friend! You're right. These tributes to John and Helen marking the anniversaries of their birth and death (along with Mother's Day and Father's Day) are quite similar year after year. Sadly, I don't know any more about them, nor do I have access to better pictures of them. However, quite the opposite is true of the Dell itself. Dramatic changes have taken place there and I will be posting pictures of the brand new Shady Dell tomorrow morning! I hope you'll be here. Thank you very much for your visit and comments, dear Kelly-Marie, and have a great week ahead!

  19. Hi Shady! What a wonderful tribute. Like most of your readers, I, too, feel as tho I knew Helen. And, I wish I had! I would have loved her too!

    I love the snack bar and counter at the Shady Dell...gosh, you just don't get to see such great retro stuff anymore. The colors and decor are so typical of the day, and really fun! Your home away from home, huh?

    This is a touching post, and, I'm glad I stopped by. Happy week Shady!♥

  20. Susan - Hello, dear friend! I'm glad you stopped by, too! Take a good look at those old photos snapped inside the Dell because tomorrow I'll be posting exclusive new photos taken of the same rooms now that the Dell has undergone an extreme makeover! The snack bar is gone. The stools are gone. The pinball machine is gone. You won't believe how different it all looks! I hope you'll join me again tomorrow for a sneak peek at the Dell's amazing transformation! Thanks again, dear Susan, and have a terrific week!


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