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, May 14, 2017

Helen Ettline - Mother of All Dell Rats

 Shady Dell owner Helen Ettline 

 didn't have any children of her own. 

 In a way we were all her kids 

 and she was our mom. 
 Clearly Helen and John loved kids. 

 Why else would they have put up with 

 the aggravation all those years? 

 The Ettlines believed in kids. 

 They enjoyed counseling 

 and helping kids. 

 In observance of Mother's Day 

 I picked out a song that 

 describes Helen and one 

 I think she would enjoy. 

 Helen, this is for you. 

 Happy Mother's Day, Helen! 

 We love you and miss you! 


  1. Kathryn AndersonMay 14, 2017 at 2:51 AM

    This is a very nice Mother’s Day tribute to Helen again this year— and it has been a long time since I heard the Lloyd Price song Personality— at least 20 years I think. You were lucky to have had a wonderful woman like Helen as a second mother at your home away from home.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

    1. Hi, Kathryn, and Happy Mother's Day to you as well!

      Thank you for being here as I pay tribute to Helen Ettline - mother of all Dell rats. If there is one thing Helen had it was personality. I can still see her smile and the twinkle in her eyes and hear her soft voice. What a great woman she was!

      Notice that Lloyd Price had his all black orchestra with him for that TV performance, which I think was on The Ed Sullivan Show, but the backing vocalists on his hit record "Personality," the ones you can hear on the chorus, were (if I am not mistaken) The Ray Charles Singers which (if I am not mistaken) were white. The Ray Charles Singers backed Perry Como on his recordings. "Personality" was arranged by Don Costa, the man who became famous as Frank Sinatra's arranger. Lloyd Price's 1959 monster hit "Personality" is an example of the softer, whiter "easy listening" sound that was very popular from 1959 until the mid 60s when the Beatles came along. White backing singers derailed the career of the great Jackie Wilson and watered down and weakened the sound of other R&B artists like Lloyd Price.

      Thanks again for being here for Helen this year, Kathryn, and enjoy your special day!

  2. Good on you to remember your Dell rat mother. (Can you just see that sentiment on a Hallmark card?) You don't have to have your own kids to be a parent - just takes love.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for coming over for Helen on Mother's Day, good buddy!

      I like how you expressed yourself here, Alex. The Ettlines had an abundance of love, understanding, patience and compassion.

      Thanks again for dropping by, good buddy Alex. Have a great week!

  3. Personality is my favorite song! Shady, this is such a beautiful Mother's Day tribute to Helen.

    The Ettlines sounded like wonderful people, especially with children and youth. I wish I had the chance to meet them. The Dell sounded like it would have been my place too. :)

    Enjoy your Sunday, Shady. Wish Mrs. Shady a Happy Mother's Day from me. :) Take care.

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thank you very much for coming, dear friend!

      I'm delighted to know that "Personality" is your favorite song. I'll bet it is (or was) in your dad's record collection, too.

      Yessum, the Ettlines chose the right livelihood because they loved being around kids and guiding them. While most other adults seemed to be telling kids "don't laugh, don't get excited, don't have fun," the Ettlines remembered what it was like to be young and they enjoyed showing their teenage patrons a good time. You would have made a great Dellette and Helen would have loved you!

      Happy Mother's Day to your mom, dear friend JM, and have a super week!

  4. What a beautiful tribute and I know she is looking down from heaven very pleased. Love the old photos and she was a real looker! I think this is special

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Thank you very much for popping in early on a Sunday, dear friend. I appreciate it!

      It's a beautiful thought that Helen might be looking down on this Mother's Day and enjoying the Lloyd Price oldie that I picked for her.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend BB, and happy Mother's Day to you as well!

  5. Hi Shady! I think John and Helen fulfilled their lives by offering a fun haven for teens. It was their way of teaching, caring for, and keeping kids off the streets. They understood, more than some parents do, how teens often need to feel independent, and make decisions based on social expectations and peer pressure. That's where Helen and John served as "Dell parents". They were truly blessed!

    What a great song choice...the video is so cool. It is amazing how they can restore the older performances, thus reviving the day.

    I always enjoy your photos of John and Helen, Shady! I wish I could have known them, too. They didn't have to be parents to love kids and offer their friendship and counseling where needed. This is a very nice tribute!

    Happy Mother's Day to Mrs. Shady! Have a great Sunday, and week ahead! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne, and happy Mother's Day to you! I hope your son and Scootie are spending some quality time with you today. Thank you very much for swinging by, dear friend!

      This is another sensational comment from you, Suzanne. You hit the nail on the head. You understand what it meant to have a set of "Dell parents" in Helen and John. I especially like the part about social expectations and peer pressure. Times seemed simpler then, at least from from today's perspective, but growing up was still a complicated and challenging proposition. Teenagers found that they could go to Helen and John, have a heart to heart talk and discuss what was on their minds w/o being judged. I'll never forget the Ettlines in the crowd at the James Brown show. They walked their talk.

      Yessum, I was thrilled to discover that video of Lloyd Price with audio and video restored. There's a lot of great old stuff being made like new again and uploaded on You-Tube. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I posted "Personality."

      Thank you again for making time to write such an excellent comment, dear friend Suzanne and, once again, happy Mother's Day to you!

  6. What a lovely tribute! I enjoyed the clip!

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      How are you, dear friend? Thank you very much for coming over as I pay tribute to Dell owner Helen Ettline on Mother's Day.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the restored vintage clip of Lloyd Price singing his signature song "Personality."

      I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, too, dear Kelly, and I thank you again for coming. Have a super week ahead!

  7. Wonderful tribute to Helen..I'm sure she'd be so pleased to know how much she was loved. She and her hubby proved that you don't have to birth children to be a good example, show love and shape young minds. They made a huge impact on your life. That is a Mom in my books. Happy Mother's Day in heaven Helen! Hope your week is a good one Shady!

    1. Hi, Yaya!

      This has happened before. You and I were visiting each other's blogs and leaving comments at the exact same time! :) Thank you very much for dropping by, dear friend!

      Thank you also for your lovely words about Helen and John again this year, YaYa. You have learned a lot about the Ettlines in the years you have been following SDMM, and you have them pegged correctly. It seems a shame they never had any children of their own because, clearly, they would have made great parents. I am still coming from their influence.

      Happy Mother's Day to you and your dear mother, YaYa, and have a safe and happy week ahead!

  8. Aw, what a sweet Mother's Day tribute to Helen. I know she was like a mother to you and so many others. You were blessed to have her in your life

    And love Lloyd Price's Personality! Such a fun song!

    Hope you and Kathryn had a wonderful Mothers Day celebration...

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      How have you been, dear friend? I hope you are good and rested from your hiatus. I see that you have a band battle going on today and I will be over shortly to vote.

      Yessum, generations of Dell rats were blessed to have Helen Ettline as a second mom at our home away from home, the Shady Dell. It amazes me how well I remember Helen's face, the twinkle in her eyes and her sweet, soft voice, even though the last time I saw her was 1971.

      I'm happy to know that you enjoyed "Personality," the biggie by Lloyd Price. The single seemed destined to be a chart topper for Lloyd, but instead halted at #2 and stayed there three weeks in a row, held back by Johnny Horton's smash hit "The Battle of New Orleans" which stubbornly hung on to #1.

      I hope you enjoyed your Mother's Day and got in touch with your dear mama back east. Have a great week, dear friend Michele!

  9. A salute to all lovely mothers.
    Happy Mother's Day to all lovely moms here especially your mom and all Dell Rats mothers.

    1. Hi, Luxie!

      Thank you very much for swinging over from Manila to help me wish Helen Ettline a happy Mother's Day.

      Thank you again for your visit and comment, Lux. I hope you and your mother had a wonderful day, too, if you happen to observe Mother's Day in your part of the world. Take care, dear friend. Have a super week and I will be connecting with you again soon!

  10. Tom,

    Excellent song choice for the Mother of all the Dell rat pack! Margaret certainly has personality and a delightful one at that. If you're reading this Margaret (or Kathleen) I hope you had a marvelous Mother's Day filled with lots of love and warm memories to kindle your heart. ;) Very lovely tribute to a dear lady, my friend. :) Have a good week and thanks for dropping by this morning!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      You are correct. The Lloyd Price song "Personality" works just as well for Margaret Schneider, "The Oldest Living Dell Rat," as it does for Helen Ettline "Mother of All Dell Rats." I will email Kathleen at once and let her know that you offered Mother's Day wishes to mother Margaret.

      Thanks again for coming and enjoy the rest of your time off, dear friend Cathy!

  11. What a beautiful tribute to Margaret. It's the people like her who are very special, and when we're lucky enough to know them and be a part of their generous giving nature, it's good to tell their story. You've done a super job with music and words.

    1. Hi, Cheryl!

      Thank you very much for dropping in, dear friend!

      It seems like you and Cathy are confusing Helen with Margaret, but that's AOK. I know your hearts are in the right place. Thank you for the lovely words about another wonderful mother and role model, Margaret Schneider. I will pass along your message to Margaret and Kathleen.

      Thank you again and enjoy the week ahead, dear friend C-Lee!

  12. Probably if she had had kids, she wouldn't have been so tolerant of the Dell Rat Pack!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Thank you for coming over for my annual Mother's Day tribute to Helen Ettline.

      Your theory has merit. It is much easier to be a substitute parent than a real one. It's the difference between part time work and full time work, right? It's interesting to speculate how it might have changed the Dell dynamics if the Ettlines had kids and they joined the rat pack. I doubt that it would have been the same kind of experience for us.

      Thanks again for reporting in, dear friend Sherry!

  13. Hi Shady!

    What a lovely tribute! I truly enjoyed hearing that song again. Nice to begin the day smiling. I bet Dell Rats everywhere are smiling too ;-)
    Happy day, dear good-hearted Shady!

    1. Hi, diedre!

      How are you this week, dear friend? Thanks so much for helping me salute Helen for Mother's Day again this year.

      Mrs. Shady commented that she hasn't heard that Lloyd Price biggie "Personality" in at least 20 years. For me it has been much longer. I don't think I have listened to that song since the early 70s when I started collecting the Cruisin' record album series and found it on the 1959 volume.

      Thanks again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend diedre, and enjoy the rest of your week!


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