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, August 7, 2012

My Cup Runneth Over

It's time to present the latest edition of Dell Rat Feedback, letters to the editor sent in by you, the devoted friends and followers of Shady Dell Music & Memories.



In reference to the recently concluded 9-part series covering the history of The Soul Clinic, the eight piece R&B band from York, PA, drummer and band leader Larry Smith wrote:

 I am so pleased with how it came out. 

 A) It was a well-researched, INTERESTING saga... 

 B) Presented in an accessible "interview" style by a 
 wonderful writer & editor, Mr. Thomas Anderson... 

 C) ...that made you want to read more! 

 D) Even people who don't listen to music a lot or don't 
 particularly like "Soul Music", LOVE the "behind the scenes 
 stuff" and "anecdotes". We had plenty in there dude! 

 (The Clinicians have gained a new friend. Tommy!!) 

Jackson Truett, who played keyboards for The Concords and Jay & the Techniques, wrote:

 I enjoyed the blog. Memories 
 are fun especially when they 
 represent our moments in the 
 spotlight. The names, pictures 
 and places were really quite 
 revealing. They brought back 
 memories of a time that very 
 few enjoyed in all of America. 
 I've always felt that "American 
 Graffiti" was written about 
 York. The York/Harrisburg 
 scene was more than "BIG" it was a "Gold Mine" that very 
 few tapped into. Those days are remembered by Yorkers 
 with fun and affection. 

Jack's former Concords band mate Rick Dillman, who became trumpet player for The Soul Clinic, wrote:

 Can't thank you enough for 
 sticking with this and getting 
 it right. Everyone absolutely 
 loves it. All of us are humbled 
 and so appreciative for the 
 love expressed. You can be 
 proud of the series. We are. 
 We will be enjoying this for 
 a long long time. 

 I made this image with all of us and you in the background: 

 "The Ninth Clinician" - lol..  

 Hang it on your wall. You deserve to be included now. 

 Much Love, Rick 

In case you missed it, you can catch the entire 9-chapter Soul Clinic series from the beginning by clicking here!


I have received a handwritten letter from my dear friend Kathleen Mae Schneider. Kathleen, my special guest blogger, presents her exclusive series, In-Dell-ible Memories in which she tells the story of her mother Margaret's childhood at the Shady Dell in the early years of the 20th century. Margaret turned 100 years old in April and Kathleen sent us pictures
of the happy occasion.

Kathleen wrote:

 Your posts on the blog and the comments they elicited 
 really helped to make Mother's birthday an especially 
 wonderful celebration. 

 She never in a hundred years - literally- ever expected 
 or received such attention. We so appreciate your time, 
 your thoughtfulness, and most of all, your caring about 
 our mother and our family. Such kindness will never be 



Submitted for your approval...

Meet Mr. Blake Stough, a man who has come down with a bad case of Shady Dell Fever. Blake operates a blog called Preserving York in which he explores York County history.

Recently, Kathleen Mae Schneider contacted Blake and enlisted his aid in solving some of the Shady Dell's many mysteries.

Kathleen wrote:

 Blake Stough has picked up 
 your enthusiasm about the 
 Shady Dell. He came to the 
 Dell and stayed almost four 
 hours. He was entranced 
 with the place! He loved 
 poking around in crawl 
 spaces and the loft of the 
 barn and found some 
 goodies there. 

 Blake Stough wrote: 

 I visited the Dell with Kathy and had a great time exploring  
 its secrets. 

 I'm sure you'll be interested in the photographs I took, 
 which included the use of a wide-angle lens so I could 
 capture more of the scene at one time. 

Blake has already published two articles about M'Lady Shady on his blog.

 Family. Heritage. History. Genealogy. Memories. Tradition. Life. 

The first post traces the timeline of major events in the early history of the Dell from its construction through the Brown family years during which automobiles, hunting dogs and patent medicines were sold there, through the Spangler family years when squab pigeons were raised in the barn for sale to local restaurants, and on to the Ettline years when the estate was transformed into a hangout for teenagers. Follow the history of the Shady Dell in Blake's article entitled:

 Tough Times Were Faced 

 During The Pre-Shady Dell Days 

Next, tour the Dell as it looks today and behold the series of outstanding, high quality photographs taken by Blake during his recent visits:

 Behind The Scenes Of York’s 

 “Shady Lady” Estate 


Finally, I received a thoughtful and beautifully composed letter from my dear friend Jenny at Knees and Paws. Jenny has engaged me in a friendly argument, encouraging me to go beyond blogging and write a book or screenplay based on my experiences as a teenager at the Shady Dell.

 Jenny wrote:

   It's not about the squab. Your screenplay is about that one night at the Dell, the night that is in essence, every night at the living Dell. The one night where your experience is the one that people feel on a cellular level...not something like a history lesson 
or a detached memoir.. 

   It's not about the squab, but it is about that one night when you felt what it means to look into John's eyes as a young man. The night that got a little crazy and you ended up breaking that girl's heart, but not on purpose. It's about that night when you realized how deep your feelings were when you danced to soul music that was so different than anything that was "safe" to listen to, like white music. 

   It's about that night when you felt a kinship with your buddies, bonds that would last a lifetime. It's about showing what happens when young people create a community when they are given something so rare and beautiful; a space to dance! It's about Helen and John wanting a houseful of children and moving around that barrier of natural selection. 

   It's about that one night, but also about every night in flashbacks and conversations. It's about that time when you were so frustrated with the way things were going at home, how god awful boring the land around you felt, how quiet the house was when your parents were reading their newspapers. How you were secretly counting the hours until sunset. It was about the music. The girls. Maybe even about the beer, but it was really about the music. 

   It's about that one tragedy that you haven't yet forgotten that changed how you lived. 

   It's about showing the people in our country what they could still be having if they threw away their ipods.

   This is the only way we evoke even a fraction of an emotion in literature, in film, in blog land: though the magic of a personal story in the context of a changing, fleeting season in a complex and beautiful world.

   Please understand that I fully enjoy Shady Dell: Music and Memories the blog and plan to continue reading it for the duration. I love it and this is why I am writing to you today. 

   I want to see and hear and feel that night that has nothing to do with squab, and it's a selfish thing to wish for. 

Your friend, 

 Shady Dell Fever:  It's Catching! 

 My cup runneth over. 

Have a Shady day!


  1. I'd say your posts have definitely struck a chord with us! You reach such a wide cross section of people, as well, that it's a testament to how well your blog is received. And Jenny's advice is stellar, as it always is. Here's to many more years of this blog and the Shady Dell!

    1. Thank you, Shelly! It was surely one of the highlights of my four year blogging career to receive that beautifully written essay from Jenny, to sense her enthusiasm and to know that she really gets what the Dell was about. Her writing always gives me goose bumps. It's like listening to jazz. I have a deep appreciation for all my friends and you have always been one of the best and most loyal. Thank you very much for taking the time to stop by this morning, dear Shelly, and have a safe and happy day in Texas!

  2. I have to agree with your friend Jenny! I'm sure you could write ten books on the goings on of the dell! I for one would queue up to see a film or read a book based on anything shady dell!And how lovely the Kathleen sent you a hand written letter, I almost forget what they look like! I always look forward to her posts!

    Hope you're having a great Tuesday Tom!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! It seems like hand written letters have gone the way of the passenger pigeon, don't you agree? That made it all the more special to receive one from Kathleen via snail mail. Included in the letter was a personal, hand written message signed by Margaret that said, "Thanks for all you did for me." I told Kathleen that getting her mother's autograph was as exciting for me as getting one from Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley or The Beatles. I suppose this post is a celebration of friendship which, like love, is a verb in my way of thinking. It is an activity, an exercise, and you always feel better after engaging in it. Thank you very much for bringing your first class friendship across the pond today, dear Emma. I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world. Take care!

  3. Hi Tom. I agree with Shelly that your posts are appreciated and loved by so many of us, as they give us a real taste of what it was like back in the Shady Dell back in those good old days! The letter from Jenny was lovely, and very well thought out. I am full of admiration for her writing. Wasn't it lovely too, that your received that you received a hand written letter from Kathleen. That must have been such a treat, as, unfortunately, not many people write hand written notes these days. Loved that photo by Blake with the retro television, and corner settee unit. I'm so glad that your blog is now so well known my friend, as we all know just how much work you put into it.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! I agree that old fashioned letter writing is a lost art. I feel blessed that both Kathleen and her mother Margaret took pen in hand and expressed their gratitude. That letter is a keeper! I have all of you to thank for your generous love and support of what I'm trying to do here these past four years. If you click to enlarge Blake's photos you will see stunning detail. His are the highest quality pictures every taken of the Dell including its remote areas and I am so glad he caught Shady Dell Fever. I'm told there is no cure! (LOL) Thank you very much, dear Thisisme, for coming over to spread some sunshine. I wish I could do the same for rainy England! Bless!

  4. There are two people in this blog land that I consider "over the top" with their blogs with content and appearance. That would be you Tom and our close friend Diane. To think of either one of you not being on here to visit would be tragic beyond words. You personally have enlightened my knowledge of music by leaps and bounds. You have taught me so much that I never knew about groups and their history and for that I thank you. I also agree with Jenny that you have something that should be shared in a larger way if that is possible. I, as I am sure many feel, you have talent that we've only seen the surface of and I hope you will bump it up a level or two. Great work my friend.

    1. Odie, my good buddy, this comment of yours sends me into orbit. How kind of you to express this to me! I agree with you that Thisisme's blog is world class and I do not pretend to be in her league but again I thank you, sir. I'm glad you are enjoying your visits these past two years and I couldn't imagine life without your friendship. Thank you again, Odie, for your very kind words!

  5. Just dropping in again Tom, to thank Odie for his very generous comment above. Thank you Odie - hugs coming your way.

    1. Doesn't it feel great to give and receive encouragement, Thisisme? There is so much negativity on the internet. I wish more people realized that the same amount of time and energy applied to random acts of kindness make giver and recipient feel so much better. To me that's the broader meaning of Shady Dell Fever. It means taking a few moments every day to put a little joy in someone's life, just because. I hope it catches on.

      Thank you again, dear friend Thisisme. I wish you a very good night's sleep and a splendid day tomorrow!

  6. Hi Tom,
    It is wonderful to see you getting the recognition and appreciation for all your hard work. I loved the photograph with you as the 'Ninth Clinician'! How fun! Your scope of work goes so beyond what any of us have ever attempted and brings such joy whenever I click on your blog.

    Your cup runneth over and brings joy to those blessed to be at your table!

    1. Oh Sush, thank you, my dear friend! The Soul Clinic really surprised me when they sent me that Ninth Clinician group shot. I am deeply grateful for friends like you, Sush. Like Jenny, who generously contributed this eloquent piece for today's post, you have a wonderful way with words and your comments always touch my heart. I get such a kick out of bringing joy and laughter to people and I'm so glad you return again and again to let me entertain you. Thank you again for the gift of your friendship, dear Sushie, and I'll see you again soon -- here, there and everywhere.

  7. I like what Jenny said. We've gotten the history, and even gotten to know many of the main players. Now you could write about the ESSENCE. A sort of compilation of things that happened - or could have happened - to a boy and a girl spending time at The Shady Dell.

    1. Hi, karen! Thank you very much for the vote of confidence (again) but if I attempted a screenplay I'm pretty sure I'd need Jenny or Kathleen to be my ghost writers. (Or is it ratters?) As you will see in coming chapters of In-Dell-ible Memories, Kathleen does a fine job of fleshing out the colorful characters that inhabited the Dell in its earliest years. I was surprised to learn that young people who came of age during the WWI era were not all that different from 60s kids. Thanks again for your visit and kind comment, dear friend karen, and enjoy your evening out there in the O.C.

  8. Hello Tom, I was pleased to read how so many appreciate your series on the Shady Dell and the Soul Clinic. I found them both fascinating. Jenny is right, a book or movie about your time at the Shady Dell would be wonderful. You have done a wonderful thing in keeping these memories alive. God Bless.

    1. Hi, dear Belle! Thank you ever so much, my friend. John Ettline kept the original Shady Dell open and operating until shortly before his death. It is my intention to keep this online version of the Dell going until the end of my life. Thank you again for coming to see me and for bringing your sweet words with you. I hope all is well in your world today and that you have a safe and happy evening in Kelowna. God bless!

  9. Wow, Tom , what a nice post! Everyone's letters to you were special and incredible. The one that stuck out to me the most was Jenny's. She writes and expresses what we all wish we could write (namely me!).
    I feel a little left out on this post, I feel I should have posted a letter, too, thanking you for all your support and publicity you've given me, the dell keeper, for the past 4 yrs. From the posting of pics I've sent from the very beginning to the Dellapalooza (barn/yard sale) to the renovations, before and after pics, the open house and now to the promo for the selling of the Dell. You have continuously supported and advertised via the blog for the Deroche family. Thank you for all your help and friendship, Tom a.k.a. Shady! It's been sooo much fun and a pleasure!

    1. Hi, Toni! It's so nice to hear from you, dear friend, and I thank you not only for these words of gratitude but for all you've done for the Dell and for this blog. For every item on your list of reasons to thank me, I need to turn around and thank you for your exhaustive efforts behind the scenes cleaning, modernizing, beautifying and caring for the Dell, organizing the public barn sale and the highly successful open house event and taking thousands of pictures over the last four years for us to use here on the blog. You and your family have earned your places in history as the saviors and champions of the Dell and we all thank you!

  10. Tom: Thank you for digging deep into our memories these past 4 years. The times spent at the Dell and the impact on our lives will not come again in our life time. Keep up the good work in letting the world know about another time and place that meant so much to our little corner of the world.

    1. Wow, Brian! Very nicely expressed, my good friend! As Jack Truett stated in his comment, American Graffiti could have been inspired by and set in York, PA with the Market St. and George St. loops, the Dell, the Oaks, Gino's, Avalong's, the Ram and other key landmarks serving as the primary shooting locations. I know you join me in saying that we wouldn't trade places with anybody else of any age from anywhere. You just had to be there to fully understand what it was like and how much it meant to all of us. Thank you very much for the terrific comment, Brian, and for your continued support of our blog. Take care and come back soon, good buddy!

  11. Tom,
    I have to join with the others in pointing out to you what you have done with SDM&M, and what you can do, as a sideproject (time permitting) of this blog. While your style of writing isn't Kathleen's (and I MUST read her last two installments) your style of writing is YOU. Kathleen didn't get the majority of followers of this blog to get the feeling which YOU projected to them of what the Dell was to you, as well as to others. YOU have projected the York-Lancaster-Harrisburg area, spotlighting the Dell as a UNIQUE place to grow up in, with the special assistance of John and Helen Ettline. Most of your readers weren't there, but you take them back to a special place, where values existed that still have a place in this modern world. YOU express a feeling that is DEEPER than what I felt at the Dell, but nonetheless I felt it. Jenny's well-written essay, and the added testimonials of The Soul Clinic (congrats on the honorary membership!), Kathleen, Margaret and Blake, I believe, testify that you have shared what many of us--named and unnamed--have felt and lived with a group of wonderful people around the world. I remember times you thought of ending this blog futuristically, and watched you magically turn around with a new inspiration and bring even more to SDM&M. I think a book and/or movie would be a natural progression. I know the perfectionist you are, verifying facts, and I know you can do it. If you have the time, and the energy (not to make the project larger than life in your mind), you have our backing. (If my writing sucks, I proofread as I went along).

    Your buddy,
    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Hi, Ron! Thanks a million, good buddy, for all you wrote here. I'm sure you noticed that another original rat, Brian, left a comment right above yours. I also received a congratulatory personal email from Dell Rat Jerre. As much as I love all the newly inducted honorary Dell rats (my new friends around the world), I started this blog with guys like you, Brian, Jerre and Greg Gulden in mind - guys who were there, still care and want to share. Somewhat reluctant to use it as the title of this post, I looked up the Bible quotation "My cup runneth over" which means "I have more than enough for my needs." As I suspected, the phrase, in modern times, is often used sarcastically to mean that one is "underwhelmed." I went ahead and used those words anyway because anyone who knows me realizes I am not playing word games, I am genuinely touched by the feedback I have received from people like you and the others who have commented along with the ones featured in this mailbag post. There's more at stake here than keeping old music & memories alive. I think what many of us are trying to do is stop the madness, turn the beat around and restore safety, sanity, dignity and old fashioned values to mainstream America. Thank you for taking this ride with me, Dell Rat Ron. You have played a key role in the success of SDM&M and I will always remember and appreciate it.

  12. whoa, where have I been? How did I miss this post? Shame on me. Well I'm here now and am so happy to see all the love that is coming your way. You deserve every speck of it and much much more. I totally agree with Jenny about the script and I think now is a fantastic time to do it what with all the hoopla over Mad Men and all things vintage. I think people are looking to reconnect with a simpler time when kids went to hear music together and dance rather than sit at home in front of their computers like slugs. Do it, do it and then let me star in it :)

    1. I know where you've been, Amber Blue Bird. You've been watching those dang Olympics all day and night, THAT'S where you've been! (LOL) I would love to make a movie if I could land you as the star. To me you are Trudy Campbell and Annie Edison rolled into one. Seriously, I thank you very kindly for coming by today and for expressing these things. Based on what I have come to learn about you these past two years I think you would have fit right in as a teenager (and Dellette) of the 1960s. To coin a phrase "they were the best of times... they were the GREATEST of times." Thanks again, my dear friend, and have a super day up your way!

  13. Pritty good, pritty good! You've done a wonderful job of taking us through the summer thus far Shady! A variety of presentations, all fun, and full of great music and personalities. I'm sorry, I haven't made it to your 9th episode of the Soul Clinic, but I will get there. (Yes, guilty as Olympic junkee!) It is amazing that The Soul Clinic guys could give so many accounts of their past in such detail so as to put us right there with them. But, I would remember it all too.

    And, not once did I detect a drop of sweat from your brow regarding your hard work on these fantastic projects-but it wasn't work, was it?

    Well, Jenny is spot on about her suggestion for a book...'that one night'! Ah yes, I think we can all remember that one night, and, that one song!

    I was glad to get here tonite Shady. You were on my reading list...20 minutes later you were gone...rats!!! lol! Have a great weekend, my friend!♫

    1. Hi, Susan! The Soul Clinic guys will be happy to know you're still chipping away at their interview series all these weeks later. It will give you a sense of completion to find out "where are they now?" in Chapter 9. We all look for and appreciate your comments to those back issues. I can't understand why my blog comes and goes from your reading list like a phantom. Rats, indeed! Thank you again for remembering me and finding me even when my posts vanish from your stream. You are a great friend. Take care, dear Susan, and try to stay cool over there in triple digit territory. Say hello to Scootie for me. Scootie Scootie Scootie! :)

  14. Kathleen Mae SchneiderAugust 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I've been thinking about an article I read in the newspaper this morning. It reported how virulent racist ideas are promoted through music by "hidden" bands. This is in light of course of the most recent horror story in the news. What an offensive utilization of our beloved music - truly one of our specie's most beautiful forms of expression!

    I think we can safely say that Shady Dell Music and Memories is in large part an antidote to the hatred that is promulgated by these fringe groups. By recalling a time when songs were about such things as young love and romance, we touch that tender heart inside us where our youth and a simpler life still reside. The dark cruel aspects of life somehow lose their power over us in that softly glowing light.

    Posts such as the Soul Clinic Series neutralize the hostility and contempt that bigotry unfortunately directs toward much of mankind. It cheerfully celebrated music's way of bringing us together - not driving us apart.

    We all want our lives to matter. Think of it, Tom. Your blog, with its songs, flashbacks and humor gently encourage our better selves to come forward. The comments and replies consistently demonstrate the caring and understanding that are in such short supply these days.

    You work so hard to invite us into a community that believes in the healing force of music and positive recollection. I sincerely appreciate the long hours you spend searching for just the right songs and illustrations, originating creative themes for posts and of course, answering your devoted readers.

    Thank you for your efforts! They negate the purposes of those sad individuals who high-jack music and enlist it to spread the abomination of hate and xenophobia.

    What better way indeed to matter - to all of us and to the world?

    1. Thank you very much, dear Kathleen! You and I have been collaborating for more than a year now. We have formed an alliance dedicated to the cause of preserving that which is good and great about America. When I started this blog four years ago I was a different person. I admit that I was rather angry and bitter. For years I had combed the internet searching for information and stories about the Shady Dell and was finding almost nothing. At the same time I was finding an abundance of material about the Dell's sister hangout on the other side of town, White Oaks. The Dell, I feared, was well on its way to becoming a footnote in York County history. An important part of my youth was on the verge of being forgotten, the place, the music and the people. Much has changed since 2008. Today I am coming from abundance rather than scarcity. Thanks to people like you and your mother, Phil Spangler, John Ettline's nieces Nancy and Shirley who helped me launch the blog along with YDR chief Jim McClure who gave it early publicity and promotion, Blake Stough, The Soul Clinic, Dave Bupp, Dell rats Ron, Jerre, Greg and Brian, the expanding network of newbie Dell rats coast to coast and in foreign lands and, of course, the Deroche family, the current Dell owners, the Dell is back in a big way, famous once again in York and in households around the world. It's not about fame, as you well know. It's about turning the rudder and steering the ship clear of the reef. By setting a good example and exerting a gentle influence we can change America and the world. "Millions of mind guerrillas," as John Lennon put it. Thank you very much for being a key part of it, dear Kathleen.


You talkin' to me?