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, March 26, 2013

Touched By an Angel (Make That Plural)

"I've always loved the power

of the spoken word."

So said Wink Martindale, the popular radio
deejay and television game show host.

I was just turning 10 years of age when Wink's
inspirational recitation "Deck of Cards" became
one of the most popular records in the land.

 "Deck of Cards" - Wink Martindale 
 (November 1959, highest chart position #7) 

In the spring of 1962 the Shirelles topped the chart
with "Soldier Boy," a girl's pledge to be faithful to
her man while he is off serving his country.

 "Soldier Boy" - The Shirelles 
 (May 1962, highest chart position #1) 

In 1964, Philadelphia thrush Diane Renay made us smile
when she sang about her steady boy joining the Navy
("Navy Blue") and welcoming him with kisses when he
returned home on weekend leave ("Kiss Me Sailor").

Bobby Vinton brought tears to our eyes the same
year with a song that expressed a soldier's p.o.v.
"away from home through no wish of my own." Bobby
co-wrote "Mr. Lonely" while serving in the U.S. Army.

 "Mr. Lonely" - Bobby Vinton 
 (December 1964, highest chart position #1) 

Another common theme in early 60s girl pop was
how peachy keen life was going to be now that
"my b.f. is back in town," presumably home from
his tour of duty in the military.

The Peggy Santiglia led girl group, the Angels,
had a smash hit with "My Boyfriend's Back," a
"returning home" themed record that spent three
weeks at #1 in the late summer of 1963.

 "My Boyfriend's Back" - The Angels 
 (August/September 1963, highest chart position #1) 

Apparently it didn't do any good to warn the stalker
that "My Boyfriend's Back." Seems he can't take a hint
and continues to pursue the lady. Bewildered, she is
left asking, "Why Don't the Boy Leave Me Alone?"

 "Why Don't the Boy Leave Me Alone" - The Angels 
 (track from 1963 album My Boyfriend's Back

Next we have another great recording released around
the time of the JFK assassination. (There were many.)
With this single, the Angels fell victim to the record
industry phenomenon known as split-play. The B side
vastly outperformed the A side, preventing either
song from becoming the hit that it deserved to be.

The designated A side, "Thank You and Good Night,"
entered the pop chart more than a month after the
B side, "I Adore Him." A sweet, innocent girl group
ballad, "Thank You and Good Night" struggled for three
short weeks before dying on the vine at #84. Even so,
the song became a popular girl group concert closer.

 "Thank You and Good Night" - The Angels 
 (December 1963, highest chart position #84) 

When you bought this Angels 45 you got a two-fer,
two exceptional girl group sounds for the price of one.
The original B side, "I Adore Him" is an up tempo song
with elements of "Please Mr. Postman" in the melody.
It outperformed "Thank You and Goodnight," finishing
in the top 30. This is as good as Girl Group gets!

 "I Adore Him" - The Angels 
 (November 1963, highest chart position #25, 
 B side of "Thank You and Goodnight") 

In November of 1964 The Angels released 
"World Without Love," a ballad not to be mistaken 
for the up tempo song recorded by Peter and Gordon 
and covered by Bobby Rydell. The flip side is a genuine
killer bee which will remind you of Ray Anthony and 
Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn Theme." The Angels 
turn surprisingly tough on this one and sound more 
like the Shangs! I.B. Lovinit!

 "The Boy From Crosstown" - The Angels 
 (November 1964, B side of "World Without Love") 

Finally, let's press rewind and go back to the original
Angels lineup with Linda Jankowski (Jansen) on lead.

In the fall of 1961 the Angels scored their first hit record with the ballad "'Til" which went to #14. The group followed up a few months later with another ballad that I liked even more, "Cry Baby Cry."

 "Cry Baby Cry" - The Angels 
 (March 1962, highest chart position #38) 

 I think you'll agree. 

 When you listen to the Angels 

 you're in girl group heaven! 

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Dear Shady," - Rats Greg & Jerre Send Letters to the Editor & Tell it Like it Was


 John and Helen Ettline 







Dell Rat Greg Gulden responded to the anecdote
recalling my final visit to the Dell in August 1988.
In that story I explained that I drove up the hill
with every intention of going in to see John as I had
done four years earlier. Instead, I remained seated in
my car in the parking lot, unable to face the drastic
changes I was sure to encounter on the inside.

 GREG GULDEN:  Thanks for 
 getting it right. During the 60's 
 the Dell was all about the music. 
 Reading your Blog takes me 
 back to the best days of my life. 
 I loved John and Helen as much 
 as you could love two people. 
 You did the right thing on your 
 last visit to the Dell. I went one 
 evening just before the Dell 
 closed. It was one of the most 
 heart breaking times of my life. What all I saw that night 
 I will not tell. I went there to see John but all I found was 
 the shell of the man I loved so much. I must stop for now, 
 I can't see for the tears.  A DELL RAT ALL WAYS - GREG 

Greg, I thank you very much for sharing this. It's good to know you understand my reluctance to see John and the Dell so close to the end. I think such a meeting would have been awkward for John and for me. As for the music played at the Dell, every generation believes their stuff was the best and yet... when you compare what we experienced with that of any other generation... Well, you know what I'm saying. I feel very lucky to have been a part of the Dell scene during its golden era in the mid 60s and I wouldn't trade places with anybody. Thank you very much for writing in, Greg, and for helping us keep the spirit and the memory of the Dell alive!

Next, let's hear from our old friend, Dell Rat Jerre.
Jerre Slaybaugh, a 1961 graduate of York High,
started going to the Dell in 1959 and was a Dell
regular from '61 to '65. Jerre wrote in and named a
few of the records featured here on the blog that
are among his all time favorites.

 DELL RAT JERRE: 'I Love You' by 
 the Volumes (Very big at Haar's 
 Roller Rink). 'Need Your Lovin' by 
 Don and Dee Dee (I can't believe 
 you had this one.  I dug out my 
 old 45 just to listen to the 
 scratches.) 'Village Of Love' by 
 Nathaniel Mayer (I recall this as  
 a big hit at Zimmy's swim club). 

Aaaaaah yes, Zimmy's pool,
located a few miles south
of York in the village of Spry.
I went there for years, Jerre.

A strange thing happened to me at Zimmy's around age 11.

I outgrew my goggles, fins, snorkel, ear plugs,
nose plugs and Dimples the Dragon, my
bright green inflatable plastic pool toy.
(He was my very bestest friend!)

Okay...I admit that I still sleep with Dimples every night!

That year, in the summer of 1961, I went from
cowboys to girls. I gave up the trappings of
boyhood and started spending most of my time
at Zimmy's watching pairs of bikini clad lovelies
jitterbugging to jukebox tunes on that canopied
outdoor dance floor. I'll have you know that on
more than one occasion I forgot to go swimming!

Enough about me. Let's get back to Jerre who also
has memories to share about John, Helen and the Dell.

 DELL RAT JERRE:  Before 1961 
 I was at York High with no car 
 and only allowed out on week- 
 ends and yes, my parents were 
 originally very anti-Dell. I only 
 got to the Dell with older friends 
 that had a car and then only 
 before my 11:00 curfew. After 
 many discussions, eventually my 
 parents started to believe me 
 when I told them that John and 
 Helen were good people and 
 tried to keep out trouble makers. After 1961 many very 
 late nights (actually very early mornings) were spent at 
 the Dell. 

I asked Jerre to describe how the kids dressed at the
Dell in the late 50s and early 60s. According to Jerre,
the list of clothing essentials for the well dressed rat
started with a genuine Baracuta jacket from Lehmeyer's.

I had at least five Baracutas over the 
 years: tan, blue and the longer style. 

 And yes Jack Purcells were big. Other items that were must 

 haves were Weejun penny loafers. (No socks allowed.). 

 Khaki pants with the penny loafers and no socks was in. 
 Shorts were not as popular for the guys as they are now. 
 Another must item for the winter to replace the Barracuta 
 was a jacket that could only be purchased at the Army -  
 Navy store across the corner from the Hub on George St. 
 I believe it was Navy surplus. The jacket was an olive 
 green canvas type with fuzzy collar. They were extremely 
 'in' with the guys. It was also 'cool' to wear V neck 
 sweaters without a shirt under it. As I recall blue jeans 
 were not the fashion statement at that time. 

I asked Jerre to address the subject
of the Dell’s perennial bad reputation.

 DELL RAT JERRE: Most of the regulars, people that John 
 would wave in free from his booth, were not trouble makers 
 and were just looking for a place to hang out with their 
 friends and meet girls or guys. 

 Yes, fights happened, but mostly in the parking lot along 
 with the drinking. I actually think there was more drinking 
 done in the parking lot in my early years and the police 
 patrols sort of ended that. It was not a rarity for the 
 police to cruise the parking lot. I often felt bad for John 
 as I felt he did the best he could to keep it a clean, safe 
 place for the kids. I would like to think that the majority 
 of the trouble was caused by the outsiders and not the 
 regulars. Most of the people just wanted a place to go 
 and be with other people, especially after other places 
 were closed. 

 When White Oaks was open everyone started the evening 

 at the Oaks and those without a curfew ended the night 
 at the Dell after the Oaks closed. It was always the place 
 to go late in the evening after other activities. 

Jerre, as always I thank you very much for
writing in and sharing your recollections of the
people, the places and the times of your life!

My friends, I thank each and every one of you for your
comments. You are all valued members of the Rat Patrol!
By contributing to the dialogue here on Shady Dell Music
& Memories you are helping to provide missing pieces of
the puzzle. You are keeping memories of John, Helen and
the Dell alive and we are all having fun reminiscing.
Thank you once again for your participation!

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Home Sweet Dell - Chapter Five of Kathleen's In-Dell-ible Memories Series

I am pleased to welcome back my friend and guest blogger Kathleen Mae Schneider who is here with the latest chapter of
In-Dell-ible Memories, a chronicle of her mother Margaret's childhood at the Shady Dell in the early years of the 20th century.

Chapter Five 


Sweet Dell

Kathleen Mae 

The other day as sunlight streamed through the window I noticed a small scar on Mother’s forehead – a reminder, she said, of a childhood mishap at the Shady Dell. I thought about her long life that began there and the stories she’s told me over the years that usually start with, “Things were so different then…”

That’s quite an understatement, because the world into which my mother was born is hard for us to imagine. Back then, a loaf of bread cost $.04 and
a gallon of milk $.35. $3,395.00 bought a fine
new house and $650.00 a new car. A typical yearly income was $1,209 and the Dow Jones average was 93. Life expectancy in 1912 was only 50 years old.

My grandparents’ newspaper showed headlines about Ty Cobb capturing the batting crown with a record .420, the politics of President William Howard Taft, and after the next election, Woodrow Wilson. George and Allie kept a keen eye on the trouble brewing in the Balkans. Since they had able-bodied sons, they worried about the implications of America being drawn into “the war to end all wars”, but they also foresaw opportunities.

Horses and wagons passing by the Dell were common-
place. Not so the few automobiles traveling to and from Baltimore. So when George and his sons heard about recently mass-produced cars with “30 horse power” engines, it must have seemed incredible.
I can imagine them at the supper table discussing the latest Indianapolis 500-mile race where the fastest cars averaged a top speed of 78.7 miles
per hour. One account of an early automobile race tells of spectators getting frustrated with the many stalled engines and breakdowns. “Get a horse!” they shouted.

The neighbors knew the place not as the Shady Dell (a nearby valley and woods) but as a noisy kennel and automobile business. Its address was simply York, RD 2., and on a typical day in 1918, the property bustled with activity – full of life and ambition, teeming with animals, children, hired help and automobiles.

My grandparents, George and Allie Brown, were
of the enterprising sort. They kept current with trends, followed the latest news, and became wealthy by applying their talents to the market’s demand for products and services. My energetic and optimistic grandfather made a sizeable fortune through three such businesses.

Seeing the emerging popularity of automobiles, he started a dealership for some of the first Cadillac and REO cars in the nation and hired mechanics to repair them in a garage added to his barn.

George raised dogs all his life and was a skilled hunter, so he easily gained wide respect nationally for his purebred and expertly trained hounds and terriers. Other animals soon were added for sale
as pets and for various uses at the turn-of-the-century. Medicine was still in its infancy, so bottling and selling tonics and cures from recipes given him by “an old Indian lady” added to his reputation as a healer and an honest businessman.

George, second from right with a hunting party 
that includes four of his sons, circa 1921

The older sons and daughters helped with the businesses and the younger Brown children had chores to do. Mother and her sisters climbed up onto slatted shelves in the dark basement to “sprout” Allie’s homegrown potatoes. In the fall, the girls tied paper bags around bunches of grapes ripening on the arbor to keep the birds from feasting on them before their mother could make jelly from them. They also helped to mow the lawn with a hand-pushed rotary mower and kept a large hedge by the driveway neatly trimmed.

The Dell’s arbor and a rose bed in 1914.

The Brown family was not ‘all work and no play’ however. They relaxed on weekends, particularly on Sundays when, according to Mother, “Pop would take us on trips”. They would ride the trolley to visit George’s parents at his birthplace in Manchester, with open trolley cars in summer and closed ones in winter. George would also load them up into one of his trucks and drive to Hershey Park or other amusement parks in Maryland.

A Brown family outing: hatless George in the center, 
Allie on the running board and 
Mother to the left of the smallest child.

Early on, there were many toys for the children, but Mother only remembers having to share every-
thing. Her older brother Austin (in dark coat above) had roller skates she adored. I once commented that it was nice of him to share them with her. She surprised me with her petulant reply: “He wouldn’t share them with me – so I stole them!” That got her into big trouble, as did climbing on rows of milk cans and knocking them over, cutting herself badly on her forehead. She clearly was a typical child and was sometimes naughty!

The animals at the Dell were important to the family’s livelihood so most were not pets. There were ponies that gave rides at the York fair and a horse still used for pulling carriages and wagons. A cow provided fresh milk. Reaching ground to roof on the side of the barn where the dance hall would be built many years later, there was a large enclosure that held dozens of homing pigeons. George raised and sold them for use during the First World War, since two-way electronic voice devices had not been perfected. Pigeons were one
of the few reliable ways soldiers could communicate with their commanders during battle. Some birds became war heroes by saving the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers, a fascinating bit of military history that I just discovered online.

Soldiers in a World War I trench preparing to release homing pigeons with important messages attached to their feet.

In addition to pigeons, there were pheasants (whose feathers were in great demand for ladies’ hats), angora rabbits whose fur was used for soft knitting yarn, ferrets that specialized in keeping houses and barns rat-free, monkeys for pets, and most plentiful – hunting dogs of all kinds. There were 100 to 200 of them on hand at any given time.
My grandfather made a large part of his fortune selling them to soldiers returning from the Great War in 1918 who wanted to relax by going out to hunt in the familiar fields of home.

As a child in the midst of all this activity, Mother saw only “Home Sweet Home”, but unbeknownst to her, and in reality, a storm was building that would change her life and that of her family forever. Ironically, the very things that built
my grandfather’s success would in a few short years contribute to his downfall.

Next time:

In-Dell-ible Memories Chapter 6 

The Dream Becomes a Nightmare

With love to Mother and to All,

Chapter 4: Allie's Rats, Pt 2: Margaret's Pig Tale
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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, John!

 John Ettline was born 

 107 years ago today on  

  the 12th of March, 1906. 

 Things to know and remember about John: 

* John was a graduate of York High School.

* John played football and baseball and was considered very athletic.

* John was
an extremely intelligent man.

* John attended a junior college until his father pulled him out to help with the family farm in Foustown, the Cousler Park area north of York.

* John was a collector of antiques. He purchased many pieces from his youngest brother Paul who was an antiques dealer. The late Paul Ettline always spoke very highly of his oldest brother.

* Looking back at John Ettline’s life, it's safe to say that he was a John of all trades and a master of many.

* John worked in coal mines.

* John was a music agent, scheduling bands for local clubs.

* John managed various York clubs including the historic Valencia Ballroom, America’s first air conditioned dance hall.

* John also managed Lehmeyer’s, the classy men's clothier on North George St.

* John was a dapper dresser, a great dancer and a very handsome gentleman.

* John was a ladies' man, a man's man and very much
his own man.

 Most of all John was a wise man and 

 he shared his wisdom with all of us. 

 I thought it fitting, therefore, to post 

 a video that offers the kind of advice 

 that John would have dispensed. 

 I also invite you to listen to this 

 timeless message of hope as we 

 remember our leader,  

 Mr. John Ettline. 

 Happy birthday, John! 

 We love you and miss you! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shady Dell the College Years ----- February and March 1968

 As it always does, February 1968 

 touched off an epidemic of cabin fever 

 across Central Pennsylvania. 

It didn't matter what the whistle pig declared
in his annual Ground Hog Day prognostication.
Everyone living north of the Mason-Dixon line
knew then what they know now - from here
it's a long March toward spring.

It's time for another edition of College Years, the series
that features the records that were most popular at the
Shady Dell in the months and years after I flew the coop
and took up a four year residence in Happy Valley (PSU).
Here are the jukebox giants that were packin' heat in the
Dell dance hall during the chilly late winter weeks of 1968.


 "Wrap it Up" – Sam & Dave 

 "I Thank You" – Sam & Dave 

 "There Was a Time" – James Brown 

 "La – La – Means I Love You" – Delfonics 

 MARCH 1968 

 "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone" 
  Aretha Franklin 

 "I Got the Feelin’" – James Brown 

 "At the Top of the Stairs" – Formations 

 "Funky Street" – Arthur Conley 

 "Put Our Love Together" – Arthur Conley 

 "Cry Like a Baby" – Box Tops 

 We'll sample the greatest Dell hits 

 from the spring and summer of 1968 

 in the next College Years...

 coming soon! 

Have a Shady day!