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, July 27, 2013

In-Dell-ible Memories, Chapter Six... The Dream Becomes a Nightmare

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 Six 

The Dream

Becomes a


Kathleen Mae 

A burning cross, barking dogs and stolen candy:
these unfortunately are as much a part of the 
Shady Dell’s history as my mother’s wonderful 
recollections of her early childhood there, 
or Tom’s memories of music and the Ettlines. 
 They represent a harsh reality that Mother was 
too young to understand fully in the beginning,
a parallel narrative that went largely unnoticed 
as she explored the woods, played in the attic or 
did her chores for the first decade of her life.

We see her below in this blurry old photograph - 
a favorite of mine. 10 years old and dressed 
for a family outing in her white sailor dress 
and jaunty hair bow, Margaret giggles with her 
younger sister Mildred at the cold water and 
squishy mud between their toes as they wade  
barefoot at the edge of a pond. It is  
a rare last informal picture taken 
of them as carefree children.

These innocent girls would soon find their 
lives changed forever, but they had no hint 
in this picture that their parents had made 
choices and decisions that would eventually 
place their very home in jeopardy and throw 
their futures into confusion.

Margaret’s first clue that something was amiss 
was being awakened one midnight by the kennel 
dogs barking frantically and her parents’ and 
older siblings’ anxious voices as they peered 
out an upstairs window of the Dell house.

Across the road, at a clearing in the Shady Dell Woods near where she played, figures in white robes and tall pointed hoods shouted loudly and set fire to a large cross that was driven into the ground. Even now, Mother vividly remembers 
the feeling of terror as she and her family watched helplessly as the sinister group dispersed and flames continued to reach mena-
cingly toward the night sky.

Margaret received no comfort or explanation. Although she could tell the adults were frightened too, she was sent back to her room. She was left with her fears in the darkness, trembling in the bed that she shared with her younger sister Mildred. She was never before afraid of anything 
at her home other than the Sittlers' pigs! Now she was sure that she and her family were in some kind of danger. Who were those men that shouted such hateful things and burned the cross? Might they come back and burn her home down too?

I’m certain my grandparents believed telling 
her about it would only serve to scare her more. 
Perhaps they thought she was too young to 
understand the significance of this signature 
activity of the Ku Klux Klan, meant as a 
warning. George and Allie knew full well 
the power of the Klan since it was very 
active in mid-nineteen-twenties York County.

Pictured above are George Andrew Brown on 
the far left with his wife, seven of his 
children and extended family on an outing. 
Mother is at the center middle, with the large 
bow in her hair, in front of her mother. Some 
of these family members would have been present 
in the house for the cross-burning incident.

There would soon be more strange happenings 
that made no sense to Margaret. Her father 
would sometimes angrily throw open his 
bedroom window at night and yell loudly 
at the 100 to 200 dogs on the property in 
a futile attempt to get them to stop barking 
and howling at whatever had set them off.

One day strange men ransacked the house, 
rudely dumping the contents of everyone’s 
dresser drawers and her mother’s desk, 
even looking behind the player piano in 
the parlor. These ‘inspectors’ pulled out 
all the books from behind the tall glass 
doors of the family’s bookcase and threw 
them on the floor, claiming to be 
looking for illegal ferrets.

Gradually the busy barn and shipping house 
seemed quieter, less teeming with animals 
and activity. Fewer cars were sold and 
repaired. Money became scarce and in the 
next few years even Christmas gifts were 
few or nonexistent. Mother and her 
sisters resorted to stealing, waiting 
until their father was away to crawl 
into the kneehole of his big desk where
they knew he kept a bag of candy.

Not that anyone noticed.
Their parents seemed tense 

and preoccupied, mostly 
letting the girls to 
take care of themselves. 
Even their playroom in 
the attic had been turned 
into a bedroom for a tall 
stern-faced friend of 
their father's named 
Ray Baker (left), meaning 
they couldn't go there 
to escape into fantasy.

Allie, Margaret’s mother, seemed especially distracted and worried. A portrait of her 
taken about this time shows her features 
delicate at middle age beneath her 
spectacles, but with a haunted look 
in her eyes.

Mother’s neighborhood friends no longer 
wanted to play with her and she was bullied 
in school, making her hate having to go 
there every day and be subjected to taunts. 
 Once her older brother Earl drove her to 
the schoolhouse where he and her teacher, 
Miss McSherry, tried in vain to drag her 
out of the car. She returned home in 
tears and confusion.

What was happening? Why was George’s 
business no longer thriving? Who hated 
the Brown family enough to call in the 
Klan and for what reason? Why was there 
all this turmoil instead of the stable home 
and family life Margaret knew up until now?

Some answers to these mysteries and 
even more tragedy follow next time in:

In-Dell-ible Memories

Chapter 7 

The Demise of the Dell

With love to Mother and to All,

Winter Count: Margaret's 2013 Birthday
Happy Birthday, Margaret! Oldest Living Dell Rat Turns 101
Chapter 5: Home Sweet Dell
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


  1. I literally got cold chills reading this, especially about the KKK. My goodness, what a horrible sight that must have been, and so confusing and frightening to a child. I anxiously await the next chapter, and I'm hoping it's not too far ahead! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      Good Morning Shelly, and thanks for stopping by.

      The more I unearth about this time in Mother's life, the more I understand why she is so reluctant to discuss it. It was a shameful and horrible time for the whole family, not unlike what many families are enduring in today's volatile economic and anxiety-ridden climate.

      As for most of us, troubles in my grandparents' lives can be traced to giving in to less than healthy impulses, poor decisions and just plain bad fortune.

      The bad news ahead is sad, but the good news is that my mother and her family survived. How they did that I'm sure contributed to her longevity. I hope learning from their narrative helps me and my family, and everyone who visits this blog. As the saying goes, "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

      Mother and I are only too happy to share their story with you when we see you again!

  2. This was fascinating Kathleen. I know others like me will be awaiting the next scary for the children to live this. I'm going to read all the previous chapters as time allows and enjoy this true "reality" series. Thank your Mother for sharing her life here and I think it's so wonderful that you're recording this family history.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      Good to have you along, Yaya!

      I found this blog almost accidentally while researching my family history and the results are hard to believe. Mother's stories have quite literally gone around the globe, thanks to Tom's interest, kindness to our family and patience helping me with the necessary technology.

      I like your naming this a "reality series". As I learn more it sure feels that way. Every family has a rich and compelling story, but if no one records it, nothing is left to hand down to future generations. Many of my cousins and second cousins are either too elderly with health issues themselves or are too busy with jobs or children. Others do not have the interest in the research and writing necessary to document over 100 years of our family's history. They are all very enthusiastic, however, about my doing so!

      Since we are in reality here because of them and are entrusted to carry our ancestors' genes into the future, it is an honor and a privilege to do this work while Mother, the last of her original family, still has her memory intact. That's a mixed blessing, however, when Mother sometimes still gets upset by revisiting her vivid memories of these "bad old days".

      Here's why I appreciate the support shown by friends such as you on this blog. When she hears her story and sees her pictures published, followed by warm comments like yours, she finds it worth the temporary residual pain it took to get the narrative out and down on paper. Then, shy and humble as she is, she basks in all the attention!

      Thank you so much for your part in this, and your kind response, Yaya. The other chapters set the stage for what's to come in the saga of the Shady Dell. I hope you enjoy reading those as well and that we'll see you here for the next part of the story!

  3. What a compelling story, and sad in the veracity about the time in which it took place. I will have to go back and read the previous chapters and will look forward to the next one.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Welcome, Jeanie! I'm so pleased you are reading our series!
      Can you imagine how our lives will read 100 years from now? All our trials and triumphs, our losses and victories, even the details and anecdotes that seem unimportant or commonplace to us, will paint a portrait of our tiny portion of mankind's time on this planet - free for our descendants to read and compare to their own. They may even see some of our personalities and lives in their own.

      This history is not only written for future generations, however. It is also for those who read it today of course, and for myself as a way to honor and show gratitude for the ancestors who must have wondered, as we all do, if their lives had significance.

      Thank you again for your visit to In-Dell-ible Memories!

  4. Hi, Kathleen! I hope you don't mind me barging in on your post, but I wanted to express a few things.

    I once calculated that I spent well over 1,000 nights at the Shady Dell, dividing my time between the restaurant and the dance hall. I never gave a thought to the other rooms on the second and third floors of the house. At that age I had no clue that the attic harbored battered women seeking shelter from abusive relationships and unwed mothers with no other place to go. I certainly never dreamed that a little girl named Margaret played in the attic with siblings 50 years earlier or that Ray Baker, a sinister looking fellow who bears a resemblance to Frankenstein's monster, took over the girls' playroom and lived up there for a time. Can you imagine such a formidable man living in a house filled with children in this day and age? Teenage Tom, focused entirely on music and making memories of my own with Dellettes, had no inkling that a family crouched in terror at upstairs windows one night, watched the Klan burn a cross and listened to them shouting threats and warnings. I'm flabbergasted by all these revelations!

    Whenever I look at group shots of your mother and her family I desperately search for clues, wondering if there is anything different or unique about your mother that explains how she became the only member of the family to live 100 years or more. When I look at pictures of Margaret at an early age I think I see a certain spirit of independence, self reliance and determination. Is it my imagination, a notion planted in my brain because I already know the outcome, that she survived many challenges in her life to reach the century mark and beyond? I am curious to get your take on this question.

    Wonderful post, my dear friend!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      You certainly can "barge in", as you called it, any time you like, Tom! You make some significant observations in your comment that add even more to the Dell house's mystique. Rest assured I have something to say about them.

      Your activities and interests during your "1,001 Nights" wasn't a lot different than those of the house's first inhabitants. Love, romance, intrigue, "pushing the limits", music and laughter - they all filled her rooms when my ancestors lived there too. And they probably gave little thought to the Native Americans who for hundreds of years hunted in the forest that was cleared to build the house. For any generation, passions and needs of the day take precedence. If you hadn't had those interests back then in the 60s we wouldn't be here, now would we? Stories left untold, nights forgotten, wonderful music heard only by the old... What a horrible thought!

      Mother and her family also could not have imagined what would become of their homestead after they left. They'd be pleased that it became a safe house for the unfortunate, made wonderful memories for so many young people and was owned by a couple that gave back so richly to life.

      They certainly would have laughed in amazement at the juke box, the snack bar, the indoor and outdoor dance floors, the strings of lights and parking lot - and the things you describe that happened there. They would not be surprised though at the motivations that made them happen!

      You are spot on about Mother's spirit and will to survive in spite of all that happened to her at the Dell house and later in life. The doctors tell us that although the healing methods (untreated high fever, poultices and cough medicine with turpentine?!) used by her father and mother were unscientific by our standards, they probably contributed to her physical ability to tough it out when illness struck. Her siblings lived to ripe old age, but perhaps their choices and emotional constitutions didn't allow them as many years as Mother's have.

      Her faith and attitude to life is a big part of it too. My siblings and I often comment on her stubbornness, but I say that in a good way. She seemingly refuses to give in to sadness or hatred, doesn't dwell on the past and is almost fiercely grateful for every minute she lives and every act of kindness shown her. She puts a premium on emotional toughness, but isn't tough acting or sounding - just a gentle, forgiving and content old, old lady!

      You've built this blog from the ground up, Mr. Knight. You've created a new Dell much like the original, not out of lumber and bricks, but with intent, goodwill and a lively spirit. You've continued these past five years to replicate the Ettline's belief in the power of melody and true friendship, all the while giving insights to the Shady Dell's history and the culture of the times you spent there. You've provided a means to preserve stories of her earliest days. So it's safe to say that "Teenage Tom" has grown up (Well... almost! LOL!) now and is surely giving honor to the past he did know!

      As Mother often says to me - and wants me to tell you - "Thank you for everything"!

  5. Dear Kathleen,
    I try to picture where everything takes place there on Starcross Rd. You pointed out before where the "cross burning" happened. You paint pictures in my mind with your descriptive words and your mother's memories. I can just imagine and hear all those dogs barking!!! I think of all those innocent Brown children and their hardships they had to endure. How sad, scared and lonely they must have felt during those times. All I can think is, thank God they had the comfort of each other (their siblings). Poor George was just trying to make a living for his large family. I love seeing the "never seen before" pictures of the Brown family.
    Even though I mostly know how the story goes, I can't wait to read the next chapter! Hope all is well with you , Margaret and your family.

    1. Kathleen Mae ClunkJuly 27, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      It's good to hear from you again, Toni!

      I find it hard to imagine the settings for some of Mother's stories, but she is adamant about the cross in the woods. She says she will never forget it. Many details about growing up have faded from her memory, but not this one!

      The other thing that amazes me is that this trauma did not turn Mother into a bitter and cynical woman. Instead of the unsettling circumstances she experienced as a child, she helped my father give the three of us a very stable home and upbringing. God gave her the antidotes to the hatred shown in the Shady Dell Woods that night long ago. That would be toughness to endure, the capacity to accept whatever life throws at her, the ability to forgive others and a solid belief that things will turn out all right in the end.

      I want to take this opportunity to let the newest followers of SDM&M know that if not for you, the Dell house would be no more! You looked at her shabby and decrepit shadow of her former self and saw in your mind's eye the graceful and dignified home that stands there today. You and your family worked long and hard to make that dream a reality and you hold an esteemed place not only in my family's history, but also that of York County as well. We are, and will be, forever grateful!

      Thank you for asking about Mother and our family. We are doing well I'm happy to say. Also thank you for continuing to be a vital part of this SDM&M community and your sincere comment!

  6. Dear Kathleen,
    I really wasn't aware that the KKK was active so long ago, and, I can only imagine the shock of seeing a cross on fire! How could a child of 10 understand that kind of hate? And, it's sad that your mother had to witness such, at an early age. When I was around 8 years old, I had to watch a neighbor's house burn down, and it scared me terribly! So, watching a cross burn would be devastating to me at that age...I would not have understood. But, as we know, life must go on, and, your mother's parents' strength at this time, could be a positive reflection on their children, even though they could sense the stress.

    You've got me speculating about the tall strange man who entered your lives, and occupied your safe space. But, I'll wait, lol!

    I am truly excited to see your photos...especially the two little sisters playing in the mud puddles-that is a favorite past time and memory for most children! And, yes, I can see the haunted look in Allie's eyes. So many times a single photo can tell us so much. But, wasn't she lovely?

    We know that children can be cruel, but, were the lives of the bullies so much more glorious than your mother's life? I doubt it. It seems as though they slither out of the woodwork when someone is having problems-it is their livelihood. Your grandfather had previously been so prosperous, all was so good, then something disrupts that harmony...I'm about to speculate again...did he have too many irons in the fire?

    I can almost feel the paranoia and anxiety your mother felt-through you, Kathleen. And, you are helping your mother, not only re-live these events, but, to hopefully make some sense out of them in today's light.

    Once again, I'm anxious to see your next chapter. I love your writings, and the feelings you pour forth, that mesmerize us all. Thank you so much for this wonderful chapter...putting us closer to your family and the Dell. Best wishes to you and your mother, Kathleen!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Welcome back, Suzanne!
      I've never witnessed a house fire, but I can imagine it is very frightening. Such an event can shatter a child's security and produce lifelong fears. We know that now from the research into child psychology, but in the early 20th century, not so much.

      Can you imagine what children are experiencing in war-torn places and in abusive homes all over the globe? Sadly,they are both the victims of incredible cruelty and hatred, and also among the ones who will grow up to continue it for generations to come!

      My grandmother was a beautiful woman who had no idea what misfortune would befall her when she chose to marry my grandfather. She also had no idea how to explain to her younger children what was happening when things started to unravel in the family's life. She thought silence was the best approach.

      I'm glad you like Mother's old photos too! The one shown here of her and her sister is timeless, I agree. The mysterious Ray Baker is one thread of this story that so far has few leads, but I'm working on it. He appears briefly in the next chapter.

      Anti-bullying programs abound in schools today, but bullies have always existed - in schools, families and nations! Mother was sensitive to taunts, and being called names hurt. Apparently the teacher did nothing about it; in fact, if she lived nearby, she might have thought badly about the family too!

      Several times while writing these chapters, I've been able to explain to Mother some of the things she was never told as a child or even as an adult. The family just didn't talk about the whole affair once it was past. Once when Mother questioned the truth about one of the things I discovered, I was able to show her documents verifying it. She just shook her head slowly and quietly said, "So that's why...".

      This story lends itself to much speculation, so you can add yours to mine! I try to flesh out scanty details wherever I can, but this much later, causes of such things as the KKK incident are elusive. I have yet to find newspaper reports about it. From what I read, that might be due to local officials and judges sometimes being Klan members - thus the hoods. No one dared challenge them - newspaper editors and my grandfather included!

      Chapter 7 will reveal what I know so far about the problems with my grandfather's businesses. You will even hear from George in his own words!

      I love to write, and it's especially gratifying to hear that others enjoy what I've written. Thank you for your comment and for telling me so! Mother and I appreciate your kind thoughts and also send ours to you and your family, hoping you are doing well as summer begins to wind down.

      We'll see you next month!

  7. Dear Kathleen, I am so sorry your mom had to go through such trauma as a child. Hatred is a terrible thing and hurts all people; and being taunted at school must have been unbearable for her. I know that in times past, adults didn't consider the feelings of children. It wasn't understood how they could be affected by events, so talking to them about serious issues just wasn't done.

    Groups like the KKK have much to answer for one day. All I can hope is that some of them realized that what they were doing was evil and left the KKK. There is always hope for every person.

    I love the photos of your mother as a child. These pictures remind me of my mom and grandma when they were young. My grandmother was strong (stubborn? :) like Margaret. She also grew up in the South, in Tresvent, Tennessee. At sixteen, she married my grandfather and they moved up to Canada. I loved her dearly.

    I am very interested in the continuing story of your mother's life. God bless!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Dear Belle,
      You are right about the lack of communication with children in 1922. Parents were supposed to take care of their offspring and give them what they needed, but explaining "grownup" problems wasn't on that list.

      I once read that the Klan thinks it is protecting Christianity. They must have missed that part in their Bibles about turning the other cheek and loving your enemy! It is a shame they can't find less scary ways to make their concerns known. Ironically, fear is at the root of their behavior, and what they produce is more fear.

      I looked up your grandparents' home town in Tennessee. It sounds like a place that holds a lot of history. I wonder if you ever were told stories about the annual "Love Feast" at "the world's largest general store" located there, and why your ancestors came to Canada. 16 is such an early age to marry and move so far from home! That story would be worthy of a blog all by itself!

      I'm so glad you stopped by today to read Chapter 6 and wrote your thoughtful comment. God has blessed us indeed - with friends like you! Thank you!

  8. I don't know much about Grandma's childhood except that she was an only child and grew up on her grandparent's plantation with a Mammy (who she loved) to care for her. I think she was a bit isolated and lonely from what my mother says.

    Mom tells me Grandma's parents later moved to New York where Great-Grandpa lost all his money on the stock market. He found out there were free homesteads in Canada and moved there. My Grandpa's homestead was next to theirs. They were married until Grandpa's death at 62. Grandma lived to be 73. She lived her last years living near the family.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Hi again, Belle.
      These are the makings of a great story, don't you think? Does your Mom know anything else she could tell you about her parents' and grandparents' personalities? Anecdotes perhaps she remembers from her childhood that give insight into their day-to-day lives? Living on a plantation would be a great place to begin. Now is the time to capture those details and record them.

      Thanks for sharing some of your family's history with us!

  9. Dear Kathleen,
    For someone who was born in the UK in 1949 and therefore who has managed to avoid World Wars and other horrors reading about such hateful activity makes me appreciate just how fortunate I hsve been in life. I cannot imagine how people can be so full of hate as the KKK.
    Your grandmother, Allie, really does have a haunted look in her eyes, doesn't she.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 27, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      It's good to see you again, John!
      I was born after the World Wars too (1947), but my older sister and brother remember the blackout curtains and air raid practices during their childhood. Even the old towers on the Eastern coast of the U.S. that served as lookouts for German submarines still stand in silent witness to the fear of attack.

      Here in our little town, we once had a KKK Grand Wizard working in a local industry. During that time, we found white supremacy hate literature in our driveway that was delivered under the cover of nightfall. It was quite disturbing!

      In an earlier chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories called The Beauty and the Butcher, archived here, there are pictures of Allie as a young woman as well as of Mother when she was a small girl. Tom thinks Allie looked, without the benefit of makeup, like a combination of Winona Ryder and Jane Seymour. Now we know who to cast as the heroine in the movie that will grow out of this series! LOL!

      Thanks so much for your comment. You are always most welcome here at SDM&M. I think you'll find our blog community friendly and fun. In addition to my series about Mother's growing up at the Dell house, Tom does a brilliant and meticulously researched job posting lots of songs and cultural references from the sixties and beyond. There's always something new to learn, even for those of us who were there as teenagers and young adults! Add to that our personal reminiscences of those times and the impressions of younger readers and good times roll. I hope you visit us again soon to join the fun!

  10. Thank you Kathleen, for another engaging episode of your mother's life and York County history---the relevant kind. I think I've caught all your previous writings but intend to reread them and catch anything I may have overlooked. I was pleased to hear not only your mother's 101st birthday, but also her overcoming illness afterwards---which was even more satisfying to learn. I had worked with a black woman who grew up in Louisiana and, as a child, experienced a cross-burning in her yard, in the fifties or sixties. I hadn't realized that that same terror was being carried out this far north as well, even though I recall seeing the KKK parade marching through Washington DC in D.W. Griffith's silent movie "Birth of a Nation" which we saw in film class in college.
    It's interesting to realize that the Dell Road was the main highway from York to Baltimore, long before South George Street ran through Violet Hill and old Route 111 had come around.
    I think back as I read this writing, that around the same time as your mother was growing up on Starcross Road, but mother was growing up on a farm a few miles away at Leader Heights. By the way, is Starcross Road the "Dell Road" or the name of the road that ran from across from the Dell up to what I believe was Grantley Road?
    You said a Grand Wizard lived by you in the fifties in a small town in York County? I would have been shocked, although I grew up knowing many black friends were harrassed by York police, especially one Newt Brown, who was always in the news.
    Your mother's story and her personality, especially as you relate her in your replies are inspiring. Her positive attitude is something to be emulated. I truly thank you for all that you and she are sharing with us here. Also, Belle's and John's anecdotes are enlightening. History is people's lives, not a collection of meaningless facts. Thanks again to Toni and Tom for their contributions to this endeavor. (I'm making up for not commenting on most of the previous blogs.) Wish your mother a belated Happy Birthday for me. (I just called my sister and wished her a belated one almost a month late. My bad!!
    Dell Rat Ron

  11. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Oh my goodness, Ron! I'm thrilled that another real, honest-to-goodness, guaranteed authentic Dell rat has arrived to join Tom and Greg and wrote such a thoughtful comment too!

    I keep wondering where all that vast crowd of teenagers-turned-boomers has gone and if they know how they can revisit the atmosphere and friendship the Ettlines started at the Shady Dell so long ago by joining this community. Even those of us who never experienced the Dell when we were young can catch up on what we missed! Anyway, welcome back!

    The last I heard, the Klan has been active in South Central Pennsylvania since the 1920s, putting them squarely into my family's narrative. Mother is still afraid that something bad may happen if her maiden name is mentioned in association with the events of her childhood, but I assure her that whatever her father did to bring down the wrath of the Klan has long since been forgotten.

    The town I mentioned was actually Leola, in Lancaster County where I live, and the hate literature appeared about 10 years ago. Then just recently the Klan was denied a permit to hold a rally here, so it still is around. I'm certain there is an active KKK element in York and Hanover as well, but I'd have to do more research to validate it.

    That's quite a coincidence with your mother living so close to Mother when both were children. She probably would have also known Brown's Orchards, started by my uncle and original Dell rat, Earl Brown. It is still owned and operated by his son and grandson. It truly is a small world!

    One of the reasons my grandfather thrived economically for years was that the traffic to Baltimore went right by his business. He blamed the decline of his fortune partly on the road being changed.

    Learning history is certainly more personal when I see how my ancestors were part and parcel of all that happened in the early 20th century. Since I'm writing with an eye witness to that time by my side, I'm gaining so much more insight than that found in textbooks. As Mark Twain said, we shouldn't let our schooling interfere with our education. (Hm-m-m... I used to be a teacher!)

    Mother will be pleased that another birthday greeting has arrived for her 101st. In our family, late wishes are par for the course and are enjoyed as extensions of the actual day, any time throughout the year. So - you're right on time!

    Thank you for your kind response to my writings about Mother and her life. It's so gratifying for her to see that her life gives meaning to others. When she was younger, visitors and guests always left with a box of fresh vegetables from her garden, some sand tarts and a bottle of homemade root beer. Now as a very old lady, people are given some of her strength and will to live as takeaways. How important that is to us all!

    I sure hope you come back again real soon - and if you can, bring along some other Dell rats to the party!

  12. kathleen once again the Dell thur the words of your mother is teaching us more about life. Margaret"s first 10 years of life at the Dell showed her all the twists and turns that life can throw at us. She learned at a early age that life can be sweet but can also be cruel. When we have the opportunity to hear from some one like mother Margart who has been blessed with long life we see how things run in cycles and we must learn to weather the bad times and enjoy the good.When Tom and I were young we learned a lot about life from the Dell,John and Helen and now as a much older Greg and Tom we can still learn much from the early years of the Dell.Life can change in the blink of a eye and we never know whats around the next corner.When my Dell years ended my life had just started to show me all its twists and turns. We will be waiting to see what the next part of the story has to teach us. Thank you again for giving us this look at the Dells early years. Lets all remember that home less person we see on the street could be us tomorrow. Your Friend And A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      Good Morning Greg! It's good to hear from you again. Two Dell Rats in a row...wonderful!

      John and Helen would be so proud that what they taught you guys (and our Shady leader of course...) by example while you were young is still making the world a better place. Their legacy is safe in your hands!

      You are absolutely right in all you say here. Mother always tells me that nothing lasts forever. Although she has only a 5th grade education, her 101 years taught her well that life is never a straight or easy path for long.

      There's always a bend in the road, a hill to climb or a river to cross it seems. I once read that obstacles in life can be liberating, because while we once thought there was only one way forward, there are now many ways from which to choose. Mother is an expert at adaptation to adversity and demonstrates every day how it's done.!

      Her even temperament and good nature was, and still is, a blessing to her life and the lives of all of us who know her. Our family has been so fortunate to absorb this from her as our matriarch, and now this blog extends the benefit to countless others!

      She seems to have an anchor to keep her steady when the storms toss the boat of her life around. Without a heavy-handed philosophy or the need to control others, she enlists kindness and love to strike a mighty blow to the mean-spiritedness that is so prevalent in the world.

      Thank you for being a part of her life and being willing to learn from her story, Greg. We're so grateful you took the time to comment, remind us of the impermanence of our days and have compassion toward those we see all around us.

      I think you will glean a lot from the next chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories. We'll see you then!

  13. Wow - that must have been a tough time to live through, although every era has it's challenges. You tell a good story, Shady - even better when it's a true one!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 29, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Hi, Karen!

      History is fascinating because it shows how people down through time dealt with each set of problems they encountered and tried to make sense of the world around them. From the discovery of fire to the Higgs-Boson particle, they were always seeking answers to the biggest questions in life and ways to make their lives better.

      The emotions and interactions between people as they did that in every era is the stuff of great novels and movies, and the cast of characters in the Shady Dell's past is no different. They struggled with issues much like their forebears did and that we do today, but without many of the conveniences we are so fortunate to have. Can you imagine cooking for 14 as my grandmother did on a big old coal stove in the middle of a heat wave like the one we've just experienced here in southeastern PA? She did that in a long dress, and without a microwave or an air conditioner!

      My ancestors' dreams led to success; then bad choices and misfortune created abysmal failures. Like so many before them, they learned how to survive in spite of it all and go on.

      Thanks for stopping by to read Mother's story, Karen, and your reference to history. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the intrigue and drama that take place in Chapter 7. Drawn from the official records and archives of York County and embellished by Mother's first-person accounts, I hope you'll agree that they make for some pretty interesting reading!

  14. Wow! I had been waiting for this post and you have certainly left us wanting more Kathleen! I can't even begin to imagine the fear and sadness such instances caused Margaret and her family. What a scary time to grow up in and all of these family and society problems just demonstrate even further what a strong woman your mother was and still is. It just goes to show that life's trials can either keep you down or make you stronger and more determined. I'm so looking forward to more of your writing Kathleen, wishing you and your family all the best!

    Emma x

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 29, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Dear Emma,

      It's hard to believe, now that I'm in the middle of this series, that I could get the whole story told in three or four chapters. More ideas for topics to tell the Brown family's stories keep appearing in my imagination, so this is going to take a while. Thank you for letting us know you are enjoying it!

      Mother doesn't make a big deal out of her childhood traumas, just as her parents apparently didn't wring their hands when the going got rough. She says now that while she still remembers a lot of it, she doesn't worry about what happened to her.

      They say that the two most important gifts we can give our children are roots and wings. Mother's first 10 years at the Shady Dell - playing with her many brothers, sisters and friends, swinging on the porch swing, picking huckleberries in the woods, being surrounded by all those animals and knowing her parents were taking care of her - those were the roots that held strong when the storms of her life hit hard. As readers will see in subsequent chapters, the wings came later, and carried her away from all the ugliness that occurred between the two.

      Mother and I are grateful for true friends like you who read our stories and feel empathy for her and her family, even 90+ years after they happened. The oft-repeated quote of "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger" certainly applies to Mother and my ancestors.

      We send our best wishes all the way across the vast Atlantic to you and yours, Emma!

  15. there are many sad episodes in the history of mankind,and kkk is one of them. What a terrible experience must have been

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 31, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Hello, Katie!
      It's wonderful to have you visit today and read Mother's story.

      I learned from Mother that the best thing we can do when confronted with hatred is combat it with understanding and love. Mother never allowed the awful experience of the cross burning to affect her trust of the world negatively. She just moved on and dedicated her life to peace and kindness.

      Thank you for your comment. We look forward to seeing you here for Chapter 7!

  16. My dear Kathleen - gosh, you have such a following here now , and so you should! I for one, find your mum's story absolutely riveting and I'm so glad that I didn't miss this particular episode. That really must have been so frightening for a young child, seeing the KKK with their hoods and the burning of the cross. You really do paint such a wonderful picture with your words. I always feel that I am actually there with the people involved. What a sweet photo of your mum and her sister Mildred! I think that photo of Allie is really quite sad. She really does have a haunted look about her. The photo of that man is quite frightening! He would have seemed quite scary to young children I would have thought. Thank you Kathleen, for continuing to share mum's fascinating story with us. Please give her my love and I hope that she is now well again.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 31, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Am I ever overjoyed to hear from you, Diane! We've been waiting and praying for this day when you would feel well enough to visit us on SDM&M again! Thank you for reading Chapter 6 of the Brown family saga, and sending such a friendly comment.

      I'm glad you enjoy this story. Although a lot of long-past details and traumas of her life slipped away (by design in some cases!), Mother remembers enough of the times and events to provide the "bones" of these stories. I really enjoy sharing my findings with all of you on the blog. You should see her face light up when she hears your comments!

      She actually is beginning to remember repeat visitors such as you. I've taken her to your blog so she enjoys seeing you, your grandchildren and your garden. She always comments how cute they are and how your flowers are some of her favorites. That's so good for her memory at her age, not to mention her quality of life. She is also learning some of the geography that she missed in her scanty formal education!

      One of my latest searches is to identify the photographer of that photo of Mother and my Aunt Mildred. Mother doesn't remember her parents using cameras, so I wonder who took that picture - and why. Just another mystery to solve!

      Because my grandfather had three businesses going on at the same time, Mother and her siblings were used to strangers around and in the house. I find it interesting that the third floor of the Dell house has served as a guest quarters for at least two of the families that owned it.

      My grandmother's face is a story in itself! When you align the various portraits of her with the dates they were taken, they provide a fascinating map of her life.

      I will certainly relay your loving thoughts and good wishes to Mother, Diane, and I know she will be glad to hear, as I am, that you visited us today! Take good care.

  17. Kathleen,
    Your mother only had a fifth grade education but she had a PhD in LIFE.
    You're right about my mother being familiar with Brown's Orchards. Every fall I looked forward to riding along to Loganville to pick up freshly-pressed apple cider from Earl's orchards. And Mom made several trip for other things throughout the summer. I still miss Earl's yellow Japanese plums---the juiciest, sweetest plums I've ever tasted. I stopped by Brown's several years ago the last time I drove to Pennsylvania to pick some up, and made short work of them, wearing the juice all over. I've never seen yellow plums anywhere else in the country. A fellow classmate of Shady Tom's and mine, Jeff Folkenroth, just recently retired (I heard) as manager of Brown's store after, I believe, more than a decade of running it. Goodling had nothing on Brown!
    Keep writing and I'll keep reading. Between your mother's experiences, your writings, and the other's comments, my interest is guaranteed.
    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderJuly 31, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      You know, Ron, I literally grew up on those yellow plums! They are scrumptious, aren't they?!

      Two of my Brown family uncles owned orchards (Earl and Austin). Mother is so proud of them, an example of how her family survived and thrived. (I have a wonderful picture of her enjoying a fresh strawberry sundae that my cousin gave to her in his store.)

      I appreciate your comment because it brought back one of my happiest childhood memories! While visiting the orchards and playing all day with my cousins, we'd take slow, bumpy tractor rides through the orchards filled with heavenly-smelling blossoms in the spring. A few months later, we'd pick ripe cherries and peaches right off those same trees as we rode by again! Totally exhausted after those visits, I'd fall asleep in the back seat of the car for the ride home to North York. The aroma of those baskets laden with ripe, juicy fruit is still synonymous with love and family to me!

      Mother would enlist my sister's and my help canning dozens of jars of fruit that filled shelves my dad built in our basement, and then graced our table in the middle of winter! No steel cans of tasteless fruit from the grocery store were acceptable for my family!

      I will relay your comments to my cousin Stan and his wife Nona Brown and their son David, who I believe is taking some of the work off his father's shoulders. They will be happy to know their fruit is getting rave reviews!

      Thanks for your encouragement. I will keep writing as long as I have stories to tell,(and Tom doesn't grow weary of my technology flubs!) The personal and original nature of your comments laced with vivid anecdotes is what gives our blog such a sense of community. Friendships being forged and renewed here by our stories old and new are not surprising - they are the essence of the Shady Dell's particular magic - still very much alive!


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