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, April 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, Margaret! Oldest Living Dell Rat Reaches Another Milestone!

This is a very special day

on the Shady Dell calendar.

Photograph courtesy of Linda Huddle, Huddle Images

Our dear friend

Margaret Brown Schneider

"The Oldest Living Dell Rat"

is 102 years old today!

Please join me in wishing Margaret

very happy birthday!

Chapter 7: The Demise of the Dell, Pt. 2 Fighting City Hall
Chapter 7: The Demise of the Dell, Pt. 1 Harvest of Tears
Chapter 6: The Dream Becomes a Nightmare
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. To Margaret, a wonderful lady and special friend.
    It's a pleasure to remember you anytime but, especially on this day, April 18th, on your 102nd Birthday!

    Here's wishing you a whole lotta health and happiness and a birthday filled with love and many sweet surprises!

    Toni Deroche

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 4:35 AM

      Dear Toni,
      Without the literal blood, sweat and tears put into your loving restoration efforts, The Shady Dell would probably be gone and we'd have a lot less to celebrate. We so appreciate your involvement and help, and treasure your friendship now that your work there is done.

      Thanks for keeping the Dell, and us, in your heart. We're looking forward to seeing you soon!

  2. Dear Margaret,

    I can't believe another year has gone by so quickly. I hope you remain in good health and are with us for a long time to come. 102! You Go Girl!

    Kathryn Anderson
    (Mrs. Shady)

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 4:42 AM

      Hi Kathryn,
      I can't wait for Mother to hear your message after she gets awake today. It's been a tough year for her in many ways as you well know from your profession, but she has survived, thanks to the skill of her surgeon and the medical community, and the caring tributes of friends such as yourself that boost her spirits. Thank your for sending such kind birthday wishes to her.

  3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    Dear Tom,

    Our lives, short or long, take many twists and turns along the way as they run their courses over time. It is our good fortune to have those lives intertwined over the years with family and friends that celebrate our singular happy events and nurture and sustain us in the rough spots.

    Mother, I, and our family have all been blessed these last few years by the extraordinary kindness and unflagging loyalty you've shown us that goes far beyond the usual definitions of both kinship and friendship. The fact that Mother has reached this milestone is no small proof of the importance of such caring. She so appreciates the special attention you and your readers have shown her, especially, I think, because her early life was marked by anonymity and tragedy.

    Who would have thought that such goodness could have been built right into that magical house on Starcross Road? We may mourn the former times of glory that the Shady Dell will never see again, but her sheer tenacity and ability to act as a beacon of hope to those of us who've been joined literally over the last century by what she represents far exceeds any bricks and mortar.

    Although he would never live to know the extent of its outreach, the house my grandfather built and where my mother began her long life has fostered exceptional love and affection between people generation after generation. His last remaining child and her family, however, do know that thanks to you and your efforts on this blog.

    The Dell's baton of friendship that was passed to Helen and John rests safely in your hands now, Tom. It continues to bring people together all over the globe, enriching their lives in new ways that both my ancestors and the Ettlines could never have imagined.

    My mother Margaret, and this third-generation Dell "child" send our deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to you and Shady Dell Music & Memories readers. May the list of blessings in your lives grow as long as Mother's life that we joyfully celebrate today!

  4. Happy Birthday, Margaret! I'm wishing you a wonderful day full of happiness, serenity, good health and many more days like that to come. I thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and it's been very interesting to learn about the lives that were shaped in the house and property I spent many of my teenage evenings at. Lots of love to you and your family!

    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 6:32 AM

      Hello Ron!
      I'm thanking you for your comment for Mother. I know she will be very pleased to hear from you. The final chapters of her story will hopefully be on the way. Health challenges from another fractured hip and her recuperation have prevented me from writing them since January, but thank God she is on the mend now and I plan on finishing the series soon.

      Today's celebration will be extra special because of your kind birthday greeting. Me and my family also are pleased that you thought of her and us on what we consider our miracle day. Thank you!

  5. Very Happy Birthday Margaret! I have enjoyed the stories of the Dell and your family and will eagerly await the next chapter your daughter Kathleen is writing. I hope your day is filled with blessings. I know how hard it is to recover from fractures at your age, but I'm so happy you have done well and have this fabulous birthday to celebrate! Kathleen, I hope you enjoy this day also! I always sing this little ditty to anyone who has a birthday and has the misfortune of being within shouting distance of me! It goes like this: Happy Happy Birthday Margaret Dear, Happy Days will come to you all year..If I had a wish, then it would be....A Happy, Happy Birthday To You From Me!!! (Be very glad no actual sounds were coming from my mouth!) Have a great day!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      I love your song, YaYa, but I don't have much of a singing voice, so I'll improvise! Thank you for your delightful comment as well. Many say they would like to live to Mother's age but I always tell them to spend a day and night with her before they decide. She is thankful for her life, handling the indignities of her century-old body without self-pity and takes each day as it comes. What a great example for us all! Thank you so much for your part in making her special day even more so with your visit and comment. We hope you and your family have a happy holiday.

  6. Dear Shady, Margaret and
    Kathleen. I'm just popping in from Devon in England, to wish you a very happy birthday dear Margaret. I know that things haven't been easy for you over these past few months , and I really do pray that you will soon feel a little better. What an achievement to reach the age 102. May I wish you a very happy birthday. Dear Kathleen - I know that being a helper can be extremely hard at tunes. When you have more time, we all look forward to reading the next chapter of Margaret's life. Please look after yourself, and take care please give your amazing mum my love and best wishes.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Dear Diane,

      Mother will be thrilled to hear your greeting. It has been a rough winter for her, and us, but spring and healing is here at last. We are very blessed!

      I look forward to sharing the rest of Mother's stories handed down to me. There is just little time for it right now, as we wait for the dust to settle during this post rehab time for Mother. She is still trying to regain strength, and my sister and I are doing our best to help her. We are also trying to keep ourselves healthy.

      Thanks for stopping by with your comment and kind birthday greetings. As Mother said to me recently, "I have a lot of friends, don't I?"

    2. She certainly does have a lot of friends, and rightly so. I will continue to pray for you all dear Kathleen. Take care.

    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Hello again, Diane! We appreciate any and all prayers coming our way and send ours for you and your family as well. I hope spring in the land of Shakespeare is a delight for you all.

  7. Awesome! A huge Happy Birthday to Margaret!!!
    will definitely check out the other posts about her. So fascinating. Thanks for sharing
    ~Abigail and Daisy

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Hi Abigail, and thanks for joining the party!
      I hope you enjoy reading In-Dell-ible Memories for a look into the early twentieth century as seen by my mother, and that you'll return for more installments in the future. It is good to have you along!

  8. Happy Birthday Margaret Wow !02 that's some feat. Here"s wishing you many more, hope your day was filled with friends and family and lots of chocolate. This has been a long hard winter but it looks like spring is finally here. I went by the house on the hill also known as the Dell and she sure looks good when you come up the hill. Thanks to Toni she will be sitting there looking proud for years to come. You and Kathleen take care and I hope to see you soon. Love Your Friend And A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2014 at 5:48 AM

      Happy Easter and Spring, Greg! I am truly relieved to welcome back the sun and warmer weather too - and add another season to Mother's winter count. Her birthday celebrated improved health and survival in spite of the odds. And yes - there was a lot of chocolate to help!

      According to your report, it sounds like we can also add another year to our beloved Shady Dell's life, which has paralleled Mother's for over a century. You're right to credit Toni for that, because without her efforts, we could very likely see an empty spot or condominium in her stead.

      Thank you for your birthday message for Mother and for commenting. We're looking forward to seeing you real soon.

  9. A very happy birthday to Margaret! What a milestone to reach and be proud of!

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2014 at 5:59 AM

      Someone told Mother yesterday that she didn't look a day over 90! We are indeed proud and feel incredibly blessed for having her with us. She claims she doesn't know why that is, but I try daily to convince her that she is still showing us how to live a good life. Not many families are as fortunate as ours to have a matriarch whose mind and body have persevered for 102 years.

      Thanks for stopping by to celebrate with us by adding your comment, Lucy!

  10. Happy belated birthday Margaret! I am so glad to see you doing better, and, what a lovely portrait of you! Your long, interesting and fulfilling life has been an inspiration for us at Shady's Dell. I'm sure you can imagine how the generations of teens during those Dell years enjoyed the atmosphere and comraderie that the Shady Dell offered. I look forward to visiting more chapters of your life, documenting memories and the events that took you from, then brought you back to the Dell.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, and, again, Happy Birthday! ♥

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Hi, Suzanne! You are absolutely right in your observation that Mother's life has come full circle where the Shady Dell is concerned. Her family never thought they would ever be a part of it after they were forced to leave, and here she is, George Andrew Brown's remaining child, celebrating her 102nd birthday with Dell enthusiasts the world over.

      Thank you for your birthday wishes and great comment, Suzanne. They elicited a great big smile from Mother when I read them to her. Mother and I hope to see you back for more of her story. We wish a Happy Easter and Spring to you and your family!

  11. Happy Birthday, Margaret! It has been wonderful to read your life story. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter celebration.

    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 22, 2014 at 6:18 AM

      It's so good to hear from you, Belle! We're glad you joined us to learn about Mother's long life and are honored that you enjoyed the stories.

      Mother's descendants live all over the country and some of them had to schedule visits when work and other obligations allowed it. Because they, and assorted friends and neighbors began surprising her with flowers and gifts the beginning of the week, the start of Mother's 102nd year was filled to the brim with festivity.

      Then, having Easter come just two days after her birthday meant double the fun. She colored eggs, hunted hidden ones indoors, had more presents and no less than three basketfuls of goodies and chocolates on Easter morning. For someone who never had a birthday party or Easter basket as a child, we think Mother made up for it this year!

      Mother's life is incredibly enriched by such wishes and comments as yours. As a little girl at the Shady Dell, she could never have imagined this outpouring of kindness and friendship to her as an old, old lady. She, and I, thank you so much!


You talkin' to me?