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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Allie's Rats, Part 2: Margaret’s Pig Tale and Other Close Encounters

Dear friends, it is a pleasure to welcome back my guest blogger and good friend Kathleen Mae Schneider with the latest chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories, a series that chronicles the early 20th century childhood of her mother, Margaret Brown.

Chapter Four 

Allie’s Rats, Pt. 2

Pig Tale 
And Other 
Close Encounters

Kathleen Mae 

“Why is it called the Shady Dell?” I recently
asked my mother, the world’s oldest living Dell rat. “Since a dell is defined as ‘a small secluded valley’, why is a house on a hill called by that name?” I wondered. As we left after the last visit to her childhood home before it changed owners, Mother answered, “It was named for the real Shady Dell right down the road. I’ll show you where it is.”

What a revelation! I didn’t know that the house’s namesake existed so close by. Mother pointed to a long narrow valley on both sides of the road, mere yards away from the Dell property, covered with tall wild grasses and guarded by a large metal gate. “The Sittler family raised pigs on a farm there”, she said. “One day when I was a little girl playing in the woods across from my house, the pigs somehow got loose and came running up the road and chased me back home. I was scared of pigs for a long time after that!”

We laughed picturing her, now a very old lady, as
a startled youngster suddenly jumping up from her fun, screaming and running as fast as her little legs could carry her, away from those grunting and squealing pigs - who were probably more scared than she!

I explored the site of this porcine mayhem, the place so rich with my family’s history, on the morning that I returned alone for a last visit
to Mother’s childhood home. Before I helplessly witnessed the ghastly smoldering remains of my grandparents’ demolished barn and the Ettline’s famous dance hall, I made a solitary pilgrimage
to the storied glen nearby.

Finding the spot Mother showed me earlier, I
parked the car and climbed over the guardrail to
enter the first Shady Dell. A steep embankment slopes downward, covered by a sun-dappled tangle
of lush green forest and underbrush. In some places this diminutive ravine widens into quiet golden meadows, carpeted with wildflowers. Threading its way through the middle, a sparkling stream tumbles over rocks. Here and there, small inlets dug into its mossy banks by local muskrats form small placid pools.

This truly beautiful and ancient place is the only Shady Dell my mother and her family knew a century ago, and is the one after which John and Helen Ettline undoubtedly named their restaurant many years later.

It doesn’t show on this old photo of the house and barn that my grandfather built in 1912 because it is located at the bottom of the hill beyond and below my grandmother Allie’s large vegetable gar-
den and past the orchard where my mother and her brothers and sisters played.

Sparrows were chirping and flitting among the branches overhead as I walked a few feet into the brush. Looking up through the morning mist at an opening in the foliage of now-towering trees that cover the hillside of Mother’s time, the house appeared ghost like in the distance. There was Mother’s old bedroom and beneath it, one of her favorite childhood spots - the porch where she loved to spend time swinging and roller-skating.

A small sound interrupted my thoughts. The large brown eyes of a young doe stepping gracefully out of the woods met mine, but unlike Mother and the pigs in her story, neither the deer nor I was afraid. After nonchalantly nibbling on a tuft
of grass she disappeared into the underbrush.
I smiled, for she seemed like a gentle messenger from the past. I wondered if her ancestors also wandered these woods, first wary of the Native Americans who depended on them for survival, and later of my grandfather, George Andrew Brown - an accomplished hunter with noisy dogs and a butcher by trade.

So many kindred spirits were with me that morning: prehistoric inhabitants, animals, and most of all - my grandparents and their large family. I imagined a slender Allie looking up from her garden, wiping her brow with her apron. She laughs as she waves a handful of green beans at her husband. He salutes her loudly with the large bulb horn on his new
REO automobile as he chugs past on Starcross Road. Sounds of their children’s laughter rise from the wooded valley below as they wade in the stream catching crawfish and salamanders to cool off from the summer’s heat.

They have all disappeared, but surely not their spirits now enshrined in these woods. I am profoundly grateful that their house remains and their stories are entrusted to me by their last living child, my 100-year-old mother. This is truly hallowed ground!

As we slowly drove by after the story telling weeks before, Mother silently looked out the car window with wise old eyes, not only seeing the late-summer Shady Dell now overgrown and abandoned, but also remembering sounds and images from another time in her long life.

I heard that the original Shady Dell was used as an overflow parking lot and I wondered aloud how many teenagers never knew or cared where their hangout got its name. I bet many others are still unaware of its beauty and magic as they speed past. Mother is used to knowing myriad things that most people around her, including me, never heard about or experienced. Still looking out the window as the sun set below the trees she quietly said, “Probably a lot.”

Next time, read more about life for the Dell’s first family.
Please join us for:

In-Delli-ble Memories 
Chapter 5  
Home Sweet Dell.

With love to Mother and to All,

Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 1: Hill and Dell
Chapter 3: The House on the Hill 
Chapter 2: Margaret is Born...and So Is the Dell 
Chapter 1: The Beauty and the Butcher
Introduction: My Shady Dell "Roots"
Margaret's Birthday

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grab Your Torch. The Tribe Has Spoken. Our Dell Alliance Can't Be Broken.



 I love to get feedback from you. 

Stories and memories sent in by those of you who were
there, still care and want to share are vitally important.
They expand our knowledge of the Dell and the Ettlines.

I also love to receive Dell related memorabilia and
I am delighted to present for the very first time here
on Shady Dell Music & Memories another ultra-rare
photograph of John and Helen Ettline!

The picture above showing John dressed in his Army uniform
and a smiling Helen at his side was sent to me by my good
friend Nancy Rae Sieling, one of John's nieces. Thank you
so very much, dear Nancy, for making another generous
contribution to our ever expanding Dell picture gallery!

Responding to my post honoring the memory of
John Ettline, "Lubie," an original Dell rat who
authors a blog called karma Payment Plan,
wrote in and shared her fond memories of John.

 LUBIE: Brought a tear to 
 my eye. John was a person 
 I could never forget. He 
 helped me do a school 
 project one year about 
 WWII and he sat and 
 talked to me for hours 
 about it. He and I would 
 talk for hours anytime. 

 Such a great man. Once he gave me money to go with 
 everyone else to the fair. What an awesome human he 

Lubie is among the youngest of all original Dell rats.
She didn't start going until 1988, just three years
before John closed the Dell for good.

 LUBIE: I feel very lucky to have caught the tail end of the 
 Dell years. I always felt that the end of the Dell, was an 
 end for John. I really think it kept him going. He still had 
 us to make up a little bit for losing Helen. I wish I would 
 have met her. 

Lubie's description of the Shady Dell of the late 80s
contrasts sharply with that of older rat packers who
attended in the 50s and 60s, the Dell's golden era.

 LUBIE: My brother was a Dell Rat in the early 80s. I know 
 the barn was open when he first went.  By the time I 
 started going the barn was closed and the jukebox and the 
 pool table were in the house. John had cans of soda and 
 chips and candy at the snack bar. He had stuff everywhere 
 and I don't think I honestly ever knew there were working 
 soda fountains and kitchen equipment there. There wasn't 
 really much dancing involved, unless you count the con- 
 stant brawls. They called me the peacemaker because I 
 was always stepping in between guys trying to fight. We 
 sat around at the tables outside when the weather was 
 good.  There was a lot of hanging out in the parking lot. 
 I think the most played song on the jukebox in our days 
 was Iron Man by Black Sabbath. It was definitely the 
 dark end days of the Dell years. Nothing like your 
 Golden Years. 

Very interesting, Lubie, and at the
same time troubling. Heavy metal
certainly doesn't fit in with the
Shady Dell that old timers like Greg
Jerre, Ron and I remember. I visited
John at the Dell in 1984. He and I had
a brief chat in the snack bar and then
I excused myself and walked down to the barn to have a look around. Upon entering and finding a dark, dingy, stone cold silent dance hall I knew at once that the Dell's glory days were behind her and that our beloved hangout was in "stage 4."

Thank you very much for sharing, Lubie! It's a safe bet
that every Dell rat has a similar story about John's generous
nature, a generosity that went far beyond financial aid.
John offered shelter and protection. He was equally generous
with his time. He imparted advice and wisdom but didn't
lecture or preach. John listened to us. He was always
willing to give a kid a second chance. John Ettline
made each and every one of us feel important.

Long time Dell goer Adrienne (aka A.J.) told me her
dream was to someday own the Shady Dell's jukebox.
Like many other Dell rats, A.J. also entertained a
fantasy about buying the Dell and reopening it
as an eatery and dance hall for teenagers.

 ADRIENNE (AKA "A.J."):  I went there for many years. 
  I loved John dearly. I would sit and talk to him for hours. 
 He was like the grandfather I never had. I went to his 
 funeral and we were allowed to go up there for one last 
 night and that was one of the saddest nights I can recall 
 to know that a very important piece of my teenage years 
 was gone forever. 

Thank you, Dell Rat A.J. Many of us feel exactly the same as you do about the Shady Dell and the leader of the pack, John Ettline!

Dell Rat Ron Shearer, who started going to the Dell in 1963 at age 14, wrote in and presented a plausible theory about the timing of John's death.

 DELL RAT RON:  You know, 
 I don't think it is coincidental 
 that John passed away 
 roughly a week after one of 
 Helen's birthdays. I think it 
 was another special day out 
 of the year that he couldn't 
 stand celebrating by spending 
 time without her, and he just 
 wanted to join her and pined 
 away his last. 

Astute observation, Ron. I never put two and two together
in that fashion but your explanation certainly has merit.
Perhaps I can also speak to that by referring once again
to my final visit with John at the Dell in March of 1984.
I was living in Lancaster at the time and never even got
word that Helen had passed away less than a month earlier.

I walked into the Dell house and found John by himself in
the snack bar reading the paper. Although we had not
seen each other in more than 13 years, John recognized me
immediately, remembered my name, jumped up and shook
my hand. "Where's Helen?" I asked. An awkward silence
followed and I noticed that John suddenly had a wistful,
far away look in his eyes.

I was stunned when John informed me of Helen's death. The loss of a spouse often takes a heavy toll as do yearly reminders of the loss including the wedding anniversary, a spouse's birth-
day and death date. John died one week after Helen's birthday and less than six weeks before the anniversary of her death. He had just spent another lonely Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year without her. Valentine's Day was only a few weeks away. All of those painful reminders must have weighed on John and contributed to his demise. It is amazing to realize that a man John's age was able to keep the Dell operating by himself for seven-and-a-half years after Helen passed away, enduring harsh winters and dealing with the increasingly rowdy and disrespectful teenage patrons!

 DELL RAT RON: John and 
 Helen were special people. 
 They had a lot of love for 
 themselves, each other 
 and countless of us. 
 Shady, you really do a 
 fine job paying homage 
 to the Ettlines and the 
 people they helped to 
 grow up, as well as helping us to look back and see where 
 we've come from and what's a part of us. 

Thank you very much for your comments, Ron!

 More original rats are standing by

 to testify, each with a special story

 about those days of Dell glory.

 Stick around for more feedback from

 our gang, the rodentia intelligentsia! 

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Remembering John

20 years ago today

on the 16th of January, 1993

John Ettline passed away.

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

 Things to know and remember about John: 

 John never had any children of his own 
 but he loved kids and believed in them.

 John was the oldest of eight children, 
 four boys and four girls, and took on the 
 responsibility of caring for his siblings. 

 Shortly after marrying Helen in Texas 
 John enlisted in the U.S. Army. Nearly 
 40 years of age, John was one of the 
 oldest enlisted men in WWII. He was 
 promised the cavalry but, as fate would 
 have it, he wound up in a communications 
 unit. John’s unit referred to him as Pops

 John attained the rank of sergeant, served 
 in the European Theatre, and participated 
 in the Battle of the Bulge.

 John was struck
 in the head with 
 shrapnel and ordered to go home but 
 he reportedly refused to leave his men. 

 John was a card shark, a gambler and 
 a wheeler dealer, a larger-than-life type 
 of person, a colorful, loveable, and 
 memorable character.

 Am I my brother’s keeper? 
 To that question, John Ettline boldly 
 answered “Yes!” To John, a friend 
 in need is a friend indeed was more 
 than a familiar old proverb. It was a 
 policy statement. They were the 
 words John lived by. John was 
 known to give financial aid to friends 
 who were down on their luck or owed 
 money to unsavory individuals. 

 Neighbor helping neighbor was the 
 John Ettline philosophy. John and 
 Helen opened their doors and opened 
 their hearts to troubled youth, battered 
 and pregnant women and others who needed 
 their support. John and Helen walked their talk. 

 As a member of his family expressed it, 
 "John was loved and respected by 
 everyone he came in contact with... 
 especially his family. He offered love, 
 guidance and advice to anyone who 
 would give him the respect and listen.” 

 Please take a moment and watch this video 

 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! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dell Rat Ron's Got Good Vibrations and Shady's Got the Shakes!

 Introducing...the Vibrations! 

 "Misty" - Vibrations (November 1965, highest chart 
 position #63) 

  Dell Rat Ron's back and today we're 

 kicking off a 3 part salute to the Vibrations,  

 an R&B vocal group that influenced bands 

 and delighted fans all over Central PA.  

 Starting in the mid 50s and continuing through 

 the 60s, the act produced hit records using three 

 different names: the Jayhawks, the Marathons 

 and the Vibrations. 

Ron and I are going to have some fun with this and play tag team. For every  VIBRATIONS  record that Ron plays I'll spin one or two that   SHAKE Confused? Don't worry. You'll catch on.

Here's my first one, a shakin' song by a Brit Merseybeat group that looked and sounded a lot like that other famous English combo whose name escapes me at the moment.


 "Hippy Hippy Shake" - Swinging Blue Jeans (April 1964, 
 highest chart position #24) 




Now, here's one of my favorite shakin' songs performed
by a Canadian group originally known as Chad Allan &
the Expressions. They changed their name and became consistent hit makers n America as Guess Who?

 Quivers down my backbone 
 I got the shakes in my thigh bone 
 I got the shivers in my knee bone 
 Shakin' all over 

 "Shakin' All Over" - Guess Who (June 1965, highest 
 chart position #22) 

 See how it works? 

Now that we've established the ground rules it's time to


 Ron, I'm pickin' up GOOD VIBRATIONS.   

 Did I say good? I mean GREAT! 

 Shady, the Vibrations were 
 equally as popular as the 
 original O'Jays with the 
 local bands and their 
 followers. Their recording 
 of "Misty" was the one the 
 Magnificent Men covered. 
 The Mag Men also per- 
 formed with and backed 
 up the Vibrations at the 
 Raven and other venues. 
 When the Magnificent Men 
 sang "Misty" on their set
(I believe after asking the 

 Vibrations if they minded), 
 the Vibrations had nothing 
 but approval for them.  
 This group originally 
 recorded under the name the Jayhawks and had a hit with 
 "Peanut Butter" using the name the Marathons. Every band 
 did the original "My Girl Sloopy" the way the Vibrations 
 created it. Dick Biondi, late night DJ from WLS in Chicago, 
 won me over night after night with this. It did well on the 
 charts. I think this original version is just so much funkier 
 than the monster hit the McCoys had with it a year later. 
 I'd like to dedicate this song to Sue Work, a Dallastown 
 graduate, and dear friend with whom I experienced much 
 of this music. 

 "My Girl Sloopy" - Vibrations (May 1964, 
 highest chart position #26) 



Ron, Shady's next shake song is an up tempo goodie by Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson, an R&B duo that sounded like Ike and Tina. In a post a year ago I featured another of their hits, "Picking Wild Mountain Berries." This time around there's more bounce to the ounce with "Soul Shake."

 "Soul Shake" - Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson 
 (February 1969, highest chart position #37) 

 Tag,'re it! 

 Shady, this next song is the first the Vibrations recorded on   Atlantic before "My Girl Sloopy". They only released two 45s 
 for that label. The Delchords used to sing this and I believe 
 Buddy sang the lead on it as he did on the Mag Men's ver- 
 sion of the Vibrations' arrangement of "Misty" later on. This 
 is one of the sweetest ballads ever recorded. As in "Misty" 
 Ricky Owens sings lead here. The Vibrations broke up when 
 Ricky left the group to join the Temptations. 

 "Between Hello and Goodbye" - Vibrations 
 (January 1964, uncharted) 


Ron,  I WANNA TESTIFY.  While Peggy and Jo Jo were up there doing a "Soul Shake," P-Funk architect George Clinton, creator of the Parliament-Funkadelic empire, was down here asking the burning question "Do Fries Go With That Shake?" This video was a frequent fryer (sorry about that) at the MTV style television station where I worked. A sizzler in the spring of 1986, Clinton's cookin' clip begins by sampling that year's hot new singing star Janet Jackson performing in her hit music video "What Have You Done for Me Lately."

 "Do Fries Go With That Shake" - George Clinton 
 (May 1986, highest chart position #13 R&B) 

 Shady, in 1961 the Vibrations released a sweet ballad 
 called "Stop Right Now."  The B-side of that single was
 "All My Love Belongs To You," another sweet ballad. 

 "All My Love Belongs To You" - Vibrations 
 (August 1961, uncharted) 



 Here's one I'm sure 

 you remember from 

 the Dell, Ron. 

Autry DeWalt Mixon, Jr. took the stage name Jr. Walker and became an architect of the Motown Sound.  In the spring of 1965, Walker's signature song, "Shotgun" went top 5 pop and #1 R&B.  Junior and his band The All Stars followed with the top 40 hit "Do the Boomerang" and capped off the year with the top 30 entry "Shake and Fingerpop."

 "Shake and Fingerpop" - Jr. Walker and the All Stars 
 (September 1965, highest chart position #29) 

 The Vibrations waxed "The Watusi" 
 for Checker and the Delchords and 
 other groups frequently performed 
 "The Watusi" and the B-Side, 
 "Wallflower" at the Oaks and other 
 dance halls. The reunion groups in 
 Pennsylvania still do "The Watusi". 

 "The Watusi" - Vibrations (March 1961, highest chart 
 position #25) 

 I got an answer for that, Ron! 


As I'm sure you recall, one of the highlights of John Waters' original 1988 Hairspray movie was when Baltimore's TV teens performed
a bitchin' line dance to "Shake a Tail Feather," a black chart hit
by the Five Du-Tones.

Go Amber Von Tussle!

 "Shake a Tail Feather" - Five Du-Tones (June 1963, 
 highest chart position #51) 

 Let me squeeze in one more, Ron. 


Johnny Rivers was the first artist to appear regularly at the famed Whisky A Go Go nightclub on the Sunset Strip.  Johnny and his gaggle of singing, squealing, shouting go-go girls took the hit song made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis and turned it into a killer of their own!

 "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" - Johnny Rivers 
 (from the 1964 album Here We A Go Go Again) 


Ron has more good great  VIBRATIONS 
in Parts 2 and 3 of our series coming soon!

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Helen!

 This is a very special occasion. 

 Helen Trostle Ettline was born 

 102 years ago today 

 on January 9th, 1911. 

 Things to know and remember about Helen: 

 * Helen loved horses and was a skilled rider. 

 * Helen married John in Texas prior to his
 joining the U.S. Army and serving in WWII. 

 * Helen was patient and tolerant. 

 * Helen was a great listener. 

 * Helen was a warm, gracious hostess. 

 * Helen always had a twinkle in her eye and a winning smile. 

Every evening while Helen worked behind the counter of the
Shady Dell snack bar preparing treats to feed the masses she
enjoyed listening to a steady stream of doo-wop era oldies
that played on the jukebox.

Let's celebrate Helen's birthday by listening to one of her favorite songs, "Two People in the World" by the Imperials,
a Dell classic that I affectionately nicknamed "Helen's Song."


 We love you and miss you! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

The First Annual Shady Awards, Part 1




 Rolling Stone. 


 Entertainment Tonight 


 Access Hollywood. 


 "The Shadys"  



 First Annual Shady Awards 



The nominees in each category are the videos, songs and bands I liked best and I listened to most during 2012.

I have a confession to make. Last year while I was posting doo-wop and soul music here on the blog I was actually in a metal mood. (Hey, if it can happen to Pat Boone and William Shatner it can happen to anybody!)

One man's Meat Loaf is another man's Poison and throughout 2012 my music of choice was hard rock and heavy metal.
I made the switch from sweet soul and pop love songs to
the hard stuff in the interest of fitness. Every day I listen to music while exercising and I discovered that heavier sounds motivate me more and help me achieve better workouts.

Without further ado let's get the awards program underway
as I announce the nominees in my first category,

 New (to me) Band of the Year. 

These are bands I never heard of before
that are prolific and, IMHO, terrific.


 NEW (to me) 




 "Kalifornia" (2012) 


 "Here I Am" (2004) 


 "Can't Get Enough" (2007) 


 "Nowhere" (2010) 


 "Generation Wild" (2010) 


 "Medicate Me" (2007) 


 "Rock and a Hard Place" (2011) 


 "Can't Get U Out" (2005) 


 "Heartbreak Blvd" (1991) 


 "One Night Stand" (1990) 


 "Runnin' Wild" (2007) 


 "Walkin' Shoes" (1989) 



 NEW (to me) 


 GOES TO..... 

(pregnant pause while envelope opens)


Why? Because this San Francisco band brings back
the glory years of 80s rock, glam and heavy metal.
Miss Crazy produces a sound that is part Def Leppard,
part AC/DC, part Cinderella and part Ratt. (Me likey!)

 "My Way" - Miss Crazy (2006) 

Not too harsh, not too nasty and, on the other end of the spectrum,
not too innocent, emo or wimpy, Miss Crazy is just my style; and with bass player Kim Racer in the lineup... just my speed.

With shredded vocals over a driving beat, Miss Crazy
sounds like the love child produced by the mating of
Bon Scott and Cinderella. Result: 100% pure adrenaline!!!

 "Shut Eyes" - Miss Crazy (2006) 

 Please be here when the 

 First Annual Shady Awards 

 continues in coming weeks 

 with the naming of 





Have a Shady day!