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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Snow Wonder We Loved John Ettline - New Dell Mystery Pic Frozen In Time!



I am proud to unveil, for the first time on SDMM,
another rare historic picture of the Shady Dell.
Former Dell owner Toni Deroche acquired
the pic and was kind enough to share it
with us. It is an aerial view of the Dell
taken sometime during the cold
months of 1960.

The framed enlargement was discovered
hanging on the wall of DriveRight Autos on
S. George St., York, only a stone’s throw
from the Dell. The owner of DriveRight
told Toni that his dad was a Dell rat.

On the left side of the photo (repeated below)
you can see the Dell’s tall barn, garage and
dance hall. All three structures are gone now,
razed in 2012 when the Dell was sold by Toni
and her family and the new owner declared
them to be structurally unsound, unsafe
and unsuitable for restoration.

Looking at the image again, you can see
that there was deep snow on the ground.
No one knows the exact date the picture
was taken, but I did some detective work.
I combed through the weather records for
Central Pennsylvania and discovered that
there were three major snowfalls in 1960.
Most likely the picture was snapped on
or just after one of the following dates:

Feb. 15, 1960 - 6 inches

March 3-4, 1960 - 12 inches

Dec. 11-12, 1960 - 11.5 inches

As I tried to figure out when the picture
was taken, I also wondered why there
was deep snow visible on the ground
and in the parking lot but no snow
at all on the rooftops.

I thought it over and reasoned that the daily high
temperature in early December or early March
would likely be higher than in mid February.
That, combined with the rays of the sun,
would be sufficient to melt the snow
on the roofs faster than layers of
packed snow in the parking lot.

I contacted my friend Kathleen Mae Schneider,
whose family built and first lived at the Dell.
I showed her the picture and asked if she and
her husband Bob could add anything to help
explain the phenomenon. Kathleen wrote:

I showed the picture to Bob, who hails from Williamsport - a snowy place if ever there was one. He and I suppose the reason the rooftops aren't snow-covered was that they are darker in color, which retains heat from the sun more than the ground, thus melting any snow on them, sometimes while it's still falling. Buildings also generate heat if there are occupants and furnaces, and heat rises. The barn might have housed horses as well and John might have kept a minimum amount of heat going to prevent pipes from freezing in the barn and dance hall complex. I remember seeing a type of space heater hanging from the ceiling right inside the door of the dance hall. It was about the size of an amplifier and had louvers. The ground that is all white might also represent snowdrifts which would be thicker and require more time to melt - think the huge mountains of snow we often have in mall parking lots that
hang around for months.

In our attempt to pinpoint the exact date
the picture was taken, Kathleen, Bob
and I arrived at same conclusion.

* We ruled out the February storm because
   the temperature would have been too cold
   to allow rapid snow melt on the rooftops
   and because, in the picture, it looks like
   there is a lot more than 6 inches of snow
   on the ground. It looks more like a foot.

* We also ruled out the December 11-12 storm
   because they were two of the shortest days
   of the year and the sun would not have had
   as many hours in the sky to melt the snow.

* By a process of elimination we reasoned that
   the picture was most likely taken after the
   March 3-4, 1960, snowstorm, possibly on
   today's date, March 5, the first full day of
   "digging out" when the weather would have
    been more favorable for a helicopter to fly
    over and a photographer to take the picture.

Kathleen wrote:

I remember that storm. We were off school for a week because of crippled transportation and I was ecstatic because I could catch up on homework. I was a 9th-grader at Central and believe I also was mired down in research for a dastardly term paper, showing signs for what would always be my characteristic slow writing technique that I believe you know all about.😉 Oh, what I could have done with the internet back then!

Now take a closer look in this
cropped portion of the picture.

It's hard to tell, but it appears to show someone
shoveling snow in the parking lot and uncovering
a vehicle, possibly one that was abandoned by
a Dell rat at the height of the storm. If that
is indeed what we are seeing in the picture,
then there's a 99.99% chance that someone
was John Ettline. Most of my memories
of John are linked to colder weather:

* In the wintertime, John always made sure
   the barn was warm enough by keeping
   huge logs burning in the fireplace.

* If you had car problems when it was time
   to leave, John was the go-to guy for help.

* Windshield needed scraping?

* Car buried in the snow?

* Your heap wouldn't start, Bunky?

* Locked your keys inside your car, genius?

   Mr. Ettline was Johnny-on-the-spot!

* Problems at home? John was always

   willing to dispense wisdom.

Thank you very much, Toni Deroche,
for sharing this awesome new/old Dell
photo with us, and thank you Kathleen
and Bob, for putting on your thinking
caps and helping me solve another
mystery of the Dell... this one
frozen in time.

Have a Shady day!


  1. Kathryn AndersonMarch 5, 2017 at 4:28 AM

    700 posts is a very impressive achievement—and I know you put considerable time and effort into every one of them— so congratulations to you!

    That new picture of the Dell is an awesome find-- and you went to great lengths to determine when it was taken. It is exciting to think that it might have been taken this very day in 1960. I agree with Kathleen-- the darker color roofs and the heat inside the house and other structures allowed the snow on the roofs to melt faster than the snow on the ground and parking lot. It is exciting to think that the helicopter might have flown over the Dell at the right time to catch John Ettline shoveling snow!

    Congrats again on reaching this milestone and for adding another historic picture to your collection of Dell memorabilia!

    1. Hi, Kathryn!

      Thank you very much for being the early bird and offering kind words as I salivate my 700th post here on SDMM. What a journey it has been!

      Yessum, I was elated to receive this picture of the Dell taken from the air following a snow storm in 1960. Thanks again to DriveRight Autos and to Toni Deroche for sharing it with us.

      Yessum, I would love to be able to prove that the blurry figure in the parking lot is John shoveling snow, perhaps digging out a Dell rat's car. I'm pretty sure the technology exists that could enhance that portion of the photograph enough to determine if it is a human being and who it was. Will you kindly let me spend the $10,000 it will take to have that done? :)

      This rare and wonderful 1960 picture shows the portion of the Dell house that was removed during the 2010-2011 renovation. The white extension facing the parking lot contained the men's and ladies' restrooms. That space was converted into a large porch. The white extension on the left side of the house facing the barn and dance hall was the storage area where food supplies were kept during the years the Dell operated a restaurant and snack bar. Along with the dance hall, barn and garage, most of the trees you see have now been removed. I'm sure you can understand why this old photo is valuable and important to original Dell rats with fond memories of our favorite hangout, the Shady Dell.

      Thanks again for your comments, Kathryn, and have a great week!

  2. Wow, you really did your detective work on that one.
    The March date does seem most likely also since it had the most snow. It would've had time to melt off roofs while remaining on the road.
    That photo was a great find.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for dropping by, good buddy!

      The snowstorm in early March is my best guess but, as you can see, there was another big storm at the end of the year that dumped nearly a foot of snow. Sometimes the temp in mid December in PA is warm enough to allow for rapid snow melt, but we also need to remember that Dec. 11 and 12 are two of the shortest days of the year, and the sun wasn't in the sky shining down on those roofs nearly as long as it was in March. That was another reason why we concluded it was the March storm.

      Thanks again for stopping by, good buddy Alex, and have a great week!

  3. Dear Shady, weren't you as excited as a schoolboy with his first bicycle to see this photo? It's an amazing photo, and, I think you're right...from first glance I felt like that is a person shoveling snow down below! And, I bet you hit it on the nail that it is Mr. Ettline! Looks like there was a LOT of snow, and, what a view from up above. The Dell was a great looking place.

    How clever that you should try to determine when that particular snow storm occurred. I would have wondered about it, but it's so cool that you were able to communicate with Kathleen and Bob to pinpoint the probable month that year.

    This is what I call a "cool find", Shady! I am excited that Toni was able to share it with you, and, you in turn could share it with us. Thank you very much-I love to see memorabilia show up unexpectedly for us to study and figure out the story behind it!

    Also, congratulations on your 700th post! That's a lot of researching, writing, noggin scratching, singing and sweating! Fantastic job on your wonderful blog, Shady!

    Take care, I'll see you next time! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      I'm just getting back from attending a day long outdoor art festival, and what a pleasant surprise it is to see that you visited and to read your wonderful comment. Thank you!

      Yessum, I am excited every time someone contributes another pizza the puzzle, and this aerial photo of the Shady Dell complex made my eyes pop. As you might recall, the two pictures that appear in my right column cover story showing Dell rats dancing and gabbing with each other inside the Dell dance hall, were snapped in 1961. The new picture in this post was taken the previous year and offers a breathtaking view of the Dell house and out buildings from high overhead, a very valuable picture indeed. 1960 and 1961 were the years when our good friend Jerre Slaybaugh was a Dell rat. (Shady didn't arrive on the scene until 1965.) For all we know, John Ettline might have been digging Jerre's stranded car out of the snow in this picture! :)

      Yessum, this is a cool find, a Shady Dell mystery frozen in time, and again I thank the folks who generously contributed it to SDMM.

      Thank you again for coming to read my 700th post, dear friend Suzanne. You are one of the kindest people I ever knew and your visits and comments are greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful week ahead and I'll be connecting with you again soon!

  4. I can just imagine your excitement in seeing this photo. It's one of the reasons I love photography and use a lot of it in my blog. Photos capture moments in time that can never be seen again, only experienced in memory. Of course my attention in the photo was drawn to the trees. Looks like many pines on the property. When we have large snows our pine trees look like they have a lovely frosting all over them. The ones in your pic, like the rooftops, have no snow on them. Maybe strong storm winds blew it off or it's warm enough to melt off the trees? Anyway, what great detective work and so fun to have you share it with us! I'm sure this made your day! I wonder if Mr. Ettline is smiling down on you and saying "That's the way to use your head son!" Have a good rest of this weekend!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thank you very much for coming! A 700th post salivation wouldn't be the same w/o you, one of my oldest and most devoted friends. :)

      You always know how to bring a tear to my eye, Kathleen. You like to use your imagination the same as I do, wondering what John and Helen think of all the fuss we've been making about them and their Shady Dell the last 8.5 years here at SDMM. It's a calling. That's all I can tell you. I feel the need and the desire to do it, and in between the dance-pop and heavy metal posts I am happy to say that we are solving some of the Dell's mysteries and giving birth to new ones.

      You brought up a good point about the trees. Like the rooftops they are not snow covered - another clue. The weather in Ohio is similar to that of Pennsylvania and, as I recall, snow doesn't usually hang around very long in March unless it is drifted, heaped into pounds or packed down. In March the days are longer than in February and especially December. The sun's rays have more hours to beat down and do their work, and the daily highs and overnight lows are on the rise, accelerating snow melt.

      Thank you again for joining the discussion and adding your keen observations, dear friend YaYa. I really appreciate your visit and comments. have a wonderful week ahead!

  5. Happy 700! I was thinking it was March for the same reasons you mentioned and I could see the man in the photo right away. What a shame the place was razed....I hate that since I think of so many places I. Europe tha was brought back to life and they were I. Much worse shape. Funny, my dear friend's house was razed recently by her brother. Big family mess and her brother is a goof. The home was built in the 1700's and was a hospital during the war of 1812. My friend grew up there and her family owned the place and property for over a century. Her brother married someone...not nice and after they got his mom out of the house, his wife started to "renovate" and then stopped saying she was not sure what to do next. It was left empty and to the elements for 4 years until they could say it could not be fixed and the historical society could not save it. My friend and her mom only found out When her mom drove by and saw it's disgusting.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you very much for joining me for my 700th post and for contributing so much to the discussion. I'm sure by now you know how much I like it when friends address the topic and take time to expand upon it. I especially appreciate the anecdote you shared, even though it is quite disturbing. "There are eight million stories in the naked city" and I'm sure there are others similar to yours. What happened to your friend's historic home is a crime and a sin.

      I believe you came on board here at SDMM in 2015, and therefore I will explain what happened three years earlier. 2012 was a very sad year for original Dell rats. The Dell was sold and when the new owner inspected the 100 year old barn and garage and the 50+ year old dance hall, he determined that they were decrepit and posed a danger to his young children and pets. The walls of the dance hall were disintegrating and unstable, he said, and could not be stabilized or repaired. The only answer was to tear down all three buildings. A spring house and most of the old trees on the property were also removed. With our beloved Dell hangout reduced to rubble by a bulldozer, it became even more important for us to keep the memories of the Dell alive here on SDMM. That is what I have been trying to do ever since. Posts like this one in which I introduce a valuable donated item, are very satisfying to me. As it turned out, my 700th post was published on March 5, the same date we believe that vintage photo of the Dell was taken in 1960.

      Thank you again for being such a great friend, dear BB. I wish you a safe and happy week ahead!

  6. What a great photo, taken before I was born! It's strange the way there is so much snow on the ground but none on the trees and roof, although I can understand the heat inside the buildings causing the snow to melt, why on the trees too?

    I bet you were excited to see a new photo.

    1. Hi, Joey!

      It's great to see you, good buddy. Thanks for popping in!

      Yes, I was thrilled to receive this picture out of the blue. I had no idea it had been hanging on the wall of a used car dealership located only a mile away from the Dell.

      I got curious about the tree question, did some reading, and learned that trees produce some heat especially if they have dark bark that soaks up the suns rays all day. The warmth spreads through the tree to the branches and can melt snow on them. Keep in mind that in March the sun beams down longer and the trees have more time to absorb the warming rays.

      Thanks again for coming to visit, Joey, and have a great week!

  7. Tom,

    Gee, I'm sorry for not getting over before now! I thought I did when in fact I didn't. Oh, silly me! Anywho, what a neat find! How clever you guys are to figure out when this picture was taken by process of elimination, too! Sometimes old photos have the photographers name and date on the backside. Did anyone think to look? Oh well, I think between you and your former Dell Rat friends you did a great job and I found your post delightful fun. Thanks for sharing this piece of Shady Dell memorabilia. Have a good week, my friend!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Welcome back, dear friend! I've been missing you over here and hoping you'd pay me a visit. Thank you!

      I did some research and discovered that the March 1960 snow storm lasted from Wednesday, March 2, to Saturday, March 5 and affected these areas of the northeast:

      As you saw on that snow coverage map, York County actually got less accumulation from that storm than Lancaster County and other areas to the east. Often it is the other way around.

      It seems likely to me that this old aerial photo was taken by one of the local newspapers for use in a front page story about the impact of the big snowstorm. I can't think of any other reason why a plane or chopper would be flying over the area immediately following a foot deep snowfall.

      The most titillating part of the photo is the blurry figure in the parking lot that might show John Ettline shoveling snow. It would have been just like John to get out there as soon as the snow stopped falling to dig out a stranded vehicle in the lot or to clear parking spaces for Dell rats who would be arriving later that day and evening. Keep in mind that the Dell was open 7 days a week, including holidays, and John worked hard to keep the lot cleared and the front steps and sidewalks free of snow and ice for our benefit.

      Thanks again for being here for me, Cathy. Your friendship and support are greatly appreciated. Enjoy your week, dear friend!

    2. Tom,

      The snow map shows southern WV in the same precipitation pattern as Pennsylvania. I Googled it but couldn't find any specific data, though. I'd say they got a good accumulation, too. You're probably right about the unrecognizable figure being John given his dedication to the Dell and its special teen patrons. I'm glad you pointed out the blurry figure in the photograph. It does make the photo all the more special, doesn't it? :)

    3. Hi again, Cathy!

      Thanks for popping back in, dear friend!

      That's right. The storm spread across WV and through the mid Atlantic region over a four day period dumping varying amounts.

      As I look at the blurry figure that was most likely John clearing the lot and front steps for customers, I can't help wondering how many rats scurried up to the Dell on Friday night, Mar. 4, even though school was surely cancelled that day. My parents used to get angry at me for heading to the Dell in all kinds of nasty weather, but I was determined to make the scene, and the place attracted me like a magnet (or a rat to cheese :)

      Thanks again for coming to visit, dear friend Cathy!

    4. Tom,

      It's funny how we'll jump through hoops to accomplish what interests us such as getting to our favorite hangout but if it was trying to get to school then it's like, "Oh, Man there's a blizzard out there! Do you want me to die from exposure?" :) Of course, when we're young we did some stupid stuff and today chances are very good we wouldn't take the same kind of risks. I know I wouldn't. :) Have a good day, dear friend!

    5. Hi, Cathy!

      Right you are! I took many chances back then and I shudder to think about them. Like many people I consider myself lucky to have survived my wild youth.

      From the fall of 1965 until the fall of 1967, I made it to the Dell practically every night including holidays. One night I know I wasn't there was Aug. 12, 1966, the day I crashed my dad's VW on the way to the Dell:

      Thanks again for coming to chat, dear friend Cathy!

  8. Hi, Shady,

    Congratulations on your 700th post!

    The Dell looks like that would be my hangout too. I'm glad someone still had a picture. :) I also love the story you shared.

    Have a great week, dear friend!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thanks for coming over and for the kind words re: my 700th post.

      Yessum, Shirley the Dell was your kind of place and Shirley you would have made a fine Dellette. Wish you could have been there.

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, dear friend JM. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    2. Hi, Shady,

      I think I might write a story about the Dell. Trying to get back into writing fiction.

      Happy Thursday dear friend!

    3. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Wow, wouldn't that be something? As I wrote on my YouTube channel, there was a Shady Dell in nearly everyone's life - a favorite hangout where young people could escape their cares for a while, dance to the music, and mix and mingle with like minded people who knew their name. I had many great times at the Dell and have spent the last eight years telling my stories. If you had a similar place in your past then you should write about it.

      Happy Thursday to you, dear friend JM!

  9. That was quite a mission you went on to figure out exactly when the picture was taken. Are you thinking of a career in the FBI? :-)

    1. Hi, Cheryl!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for swinging by!

      Yessum, I fancy myself as a detective, but I need to brush up. I once wrongly accused Professor Plum of committing murder in the billiard room with a lead pipe, when the crime was actually committed by Colonel Mustard with a candlestick in the conservatory. :)

      Thanks again for dropping in, dear friend C-Lee, and enjoy your week!

  10. Shady, I saw in your reply to Suzanna that you became a rat in 1965. There is a good chance that we were there at the same time once or twice. It is true I was there more in the 1961 - 63 time frame. However, I was there every weekend I was home from PSU on breaks during 1964 and 65. I also was there often the summer of 65 showing off my new MG. I did drop in later in 1970 when I got out of the service, but the crowd was all new and I was older and did not fit the new crowd. I can't help you with the date of the picture but I would bet that is John making sure the path to the entrance booth is clear. Jerre

    1. Hi, Jerre!

      It's great to see you, good buddy. Thanks for joining in!

      YES!!! I vividly recall the night in 1965 when I ran into you at the Dell. I literally ran into you, spilled my cherry coke all over your new Jack Purcells, and you popped me in the snoot. :) Seriously, don't you wish we had a film or tape showing any and all nights that you and I happened to be in the crowd at the same time? It is one of the mysteries of the Dell that will Shirley remain unsolved.

      One thing we now know for sure thanks to this new piece of evidence, this photo donated by the son of a Dell rat, is that the dance hall was already there in 1960. If the picture was taken right after the December 1960 snowstorm, then there is a chance the dance hall wasn't built until the warm months of 1960; but if my hunch (and Kathleen's and her husband Bob's) is correct, that the picture was snapped in early March of 1960, then the dance hall had to have been built during the warm months of 1959 or earlier...1958... 1957...who knows? I wish we could pinpoint the exact construction date of the dance hall. It is one of the Dell mysteries I would most like to solve.

      I'm glad you agree we are probably looking at John Ettline toiling away in the parking lot getting ready for the nightly influx of fun-hungry rats. I remember driving to the Dell many snowy nights. My motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this rat from the swift completion of my appointed rounds of the Dell snack bar and dance hall." :)

      Thanks again for being here for my 700th post just as you were for my first post, Jerre. Your friendship and support have meant a lot to me all these years. Take care and I hope to see you again soon!

  11. Hi Shady!

    Holy cow! Is there an award for 700 posts? How about for consistently amazing content? And this one is no exception, how awesome to 'happen on' that picture! Desert rat that I am, I can't speak for the accuracy of your expert deductions on the lack of snow on the tree and rooftops, but it sure is an interesting narrative! Did anyone get the name of the storied Dell Rat? Perhaps you knew him. Thanks for another fascinating post, my friend ;-)

    1. Hi, diedre!

      Thanks a gazillion for dropping by, dear friend! I am very happy to see you and I hope you are feeling well these days.

      Thank you very much for the kind words re: my 700 post milestone. As for an award, that will not be necessary (and please hold your applause :) In lieu of an award I would prefer that people send ca$h. :) Just think, if every one of my friends sent me just one dollar, I'd have (drum roll, Sammy!)... 3 or 4 dollars! :)

      Yessum, it was a delightful surprise to receive this rare photo taken from the sky above the Dell on a winter's day in 1960. The question is which day? Dell rats want to know bits of trivia such as this because they help us keep the timeline of our memories straight. Someday I would love to have a complete timeline of the Shady Dell from the day ground was first broken and the house, barn and garage were constructed, through the years when the Dell's First Family, the Browns, lived there, through the Spangler years of the early 1930s, through the years when the Dell was allegedly an after hours speakeasy. I would love to know the exact date when John and Helen Ettline purchased the estate and the exact date when the dance hall was built. Thanks to people like Dell rat Jerre, Dell rat Ron, John Ettline's nieces, Toni Deroche and Kathleen Mae Schneider, we have been able to piece together the timeline covering the more recent years and solve many mysteries about the olden days of the Dell.

      Thank you again for your visit and wonderful comment, dear friend diedre. See you soon!

  12. Just returned from Bali as U know, friend Shady, thank you for stopping at ma blogs ... now find maself buried in snow ... smiles ... o, well ... Spring will come by mid May ... and then me will put in ma garden ... smiles ... looking forward to ma 100 frost free days ... Love, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!!!

      Welcome welcome welcome, dear friend! I'm happy to see you back on your blog and mine, but not happy to find out that you returned from the tropical paradise of Bali to find frozen tundra. I hope spring comes soon to Western Canada so that you can tend to your gardening.

      Thank you again for dropping in to spread cheer, dear friend cat. Have a great week and I hope to see you again soon!

  13. Wow what an amazing find, I like it when we come across something like this good on you for trying to work out when it was taken

    1. Hi, Jo-Anne!

      How are you, my dear Aussie friend? Thanks for coming to see my 700th post!

      Yessum, this picture is a wonderful find and offers more info and clues about the Dell. It's a good thing the picture was framed and captioned "1960." Narrowing it down to the correct year allowed me to do some easy detective work and make an educated guess about the actual day the picture was taken.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, dear friend Jo-Anne!

  14. Congrats to your 700th! Wow.
    And wow to that old photo. Major throwback. So nostalgic.

    1. Hi, Luxie!

      How are you, my Phine Philippine Phriend? Thank you very much for taking a peek at my 700th post, the unveiling of another rare pizza the puzzle, an historic aerial photo of the Shady Dell property after a major snowstorm in 1960.

      There's a good chance that John Ettline and I were shoveling snow at the same time that day. I was probably shoveling off my neighbor's driveway so that I could play basketball at his hoop. As I recall, my dad didn't erect a goal at our house until the following spring.

      Thanks so much for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Lux!

  15. Happy 700 hundredth post day! (I think I've lost track, but I'm way over that only because I used to post 7 days a week.) Enjoyed seeing the pictures! That certainly was a heavy snowfall. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Thank you for helping me mark my 700th post, dear friend!

      Yessum, posting every day of the week runs up your total in a hurry, but I prefer to allow my posts to "breathe" a while. Doing so allows more people to visit and hopefully provide new info, observations and insights in the comments they write. SDMM has always been a place where readers (and I) have an opportunity to teach as well as to learn.

      Thanks again for visiting and have a great weekend, dear friend Sherry!

  16. What a treasure!! This was so fun to look at the old pictures and read the dialogue from kathleen to narrow down the snowy time. Thank you for sharing and i can feel your excitement with this post. The best Show and tell ever!
    Congrats on your 700th post Shady!!! That is truly something cool. I am so far behind- i'm not having a good month at all. Lots of family and work stuff going on. I dont think i've gone a whole month without posting in quite a while. I try to always make time for you though. :) Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi, Holli!

      Thank you very much for swinging over, dear friend. It means a lot that you made time for me even though you are having a rough month and were too busy to run posts of your own. It's the mark of a great friend!

      Yessum, I was very excited when this picture appeared in my mailbox from out of the blue. What a rare and wonderful find it is! It gives new readers a look at the entire Dell complex and reminds old timers like Dell rat Jerre and me what our old hangout looked like in the years when we attended, before the house underwent changes in the millennial renovation and the out buildings were torn down by the new owner.

      Your kind words re: my 700th post are also appreciated. I'm sorry to learn that you've been having a tough go of it again. I hope you get it all straightened out.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Holli, and have a safe and happy weekend!

  17. Kathleen Mae SchneiderMarch 11, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    What a milestone this is for you, Tom! Although I've only helped produce several posts with your guidance, I did enough to have some idea of the time, effort and expertise it took for you to amass this volume of work.

    I also know that creativity and 'idea capture' (my term for what it takes to come up with new themes week after week) are the first step. So this blog represents not only extensive research and knowledge of the culture and music of the times about which you've written, it is a showcase of considerable originality.

    You seem to be an endless source of topics around which to build posts, obvious proof that this blog is a true labor of love for you. Your readers benefit from this wealth of knowledge by learning new things. I personally find it sparks my curiosity and encourages me to learn more on my own. So thank you for SDM&M!

    Your building a post around the old photo is an example of how you managed to use something long relegated to the past as a source of renewed interest and speculation, and also in this case, triggering memories of, and giving honor to John Ettline. This captured tiny moment in time is now preserved on a much larger platform that it would have been otherwise.

    Right now in particular, it's not hard to imagine a major snowstorm in March. We've got a nor'easter predicted this very week and some of our biggest storms in recent memory have happened in early spring. The snow has often been deep enough to cover my daffodils, crocus and tulips that were fooled into blooming in the previous weeks' unseasonably warm temperatures. Such is the case this year.

    We have a couple of other observations about the Dell picture. I just noticed the two geometric dark spots on the road. Bob said they look like recent road patches that would perhaps have absorbed heat more readily, melting the snow and ice covering them more quickly and thus appearing darker from above. You can also see where the plow came by above the house, depositing a lot of snow on the neighboring property as it came around the fairly sharp bend in the road. We wonder if the dark spot showing on that snow pile could also be part of a car that either slid out of control and went off the road at the bend, or just got snowed under when it was parked there. Mysteries also remain about the rooftops and trees, but our best guesses on all this will have to do for now.

    Well, here I am - the bookend again - being last to comment. My life circumstances and tech problems prevented me from getting here on time, but my motives and intent are pure. Does this and my recent absences make me a "so-called" SDM&M follower...?

    Congratulations again on your 700th post. I'm looking forward to the next 700!

    1. Hi, Kathleen!

      Welcome welcome welcome! I'm very happy to see that you made it over in time for this post, dear friend. Thank you very much! I hope you are feeling much better by now and Bob, too!

      I also thank you for the sweet comments and compliments regarding my 700 posts. SDMM is indeed a labor of love. It gives me a voice and a creative outlet. Fortunately the ideas for posts keep flowing. I am pleased to inform you that I have enough new material to last at least until the end of 2025, perhaps as long as the year 2525. :)

      I didn't know that a nor'easter is brewing. Here in Florida we have had an incredibly long string of glorious, sunny and mild days. With every day "just another perfect day in paradise" as our local meteorologists like to say, it is easy to forget that other parts of the country are still dealing with harsh weather. I hope your early budding and blooming flowers won't be damaged by the remains of winter.

      Good eyes, both of you, for noticing what appear to be tar patches on Starcross Road and evidence that the plow had recently come through. The longer I focus on what seems to be an image of John Ettline shoveling snow in the parking lot, the more I believe he must be digging out a stranded vehicle belonging to a Dell rat who lingered too long in the dance hall the night before while the snow was piling up outside. I believe that John is too far out in the lot to be clearing the stairs to the admission booth. See that tree behind John? That's the tree next to which I parked my dad's VW every evening. It was considerably larger 5+ years later when I started going to the Dell. The Dell's driveway runs between that tree and the front steps, and so, clearly, John is quite a distance out in the lot and the only business I think he had way out there was to uncover a snow buried vehicle.

      Kathleen, you will never be considered a "so-called" follower. I know how much you have on your plate. You amaze me month after month and year after year with your devotion to your mother. Your visits here are always welcome and they are all the more special to me considering how little spare time you have.

      Thank you again for all the kind remarks, dear friend Kathleen. Please take good care of yourself and Mother and, if possible, touch base with me again soon.

      God bless!


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