CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
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
HELLO STRANGER ..... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Monday, October 22, 2012

... and after


Dear friends, in my previous post I showed you pictures of the Shady Dell's barn, garage and dance hall. Most of the photos were taken between 2008 and the spring of 2012.
I made reference to recent events that brought tears to the eyes of Dell rats but was not at liberty to go into specifics.

Today, for the first time, I am able to reveal in plain English the reason for our upset and show you pictures of those same three buildings as they appeared a few weeks ago.
The Dell's new owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, inspected the aging structures, determined them to be in a dangerous state of disrepair and unsalvageable. From late September through early October the Dell barn, the garage
and the dance hall were all demolished. In remarks provided exclusively to Shady Dell Music & Memories, the new owner commented on the legendary Dell dance hall saying, "It was just not structurally sound. We had to take it down but the dance floor will remain." The owner went on to say that he
is building a garage where the dance hall once stood.


 IMPORTANT 

As I did in my previous post I ask that you click on the video below and let the mood music play in the background as you scroll down the page and look at the pictures in sequence. The song runs  1:53  so you won't need to scroll as rapidly as you did previously, but don't linger too long on any single picture or stop to enlarge any of them until you have first experienced the entire presentation from beginning to end as a "movie montage." You can do this by spending   seconds on each picture with a  half second   scroll in between. At that rate the song will come to an end just as you get to the last image. It might take a couple of tries before you get the timing perfect but I hope you will persist until you get it to work at least once so you will be able to feel the full impact as I did when I put it together.

Thank you, dear friend.





Shady Dell Barn and Garage














Our Dance Hall (below)




















Fellow Dell rats, this is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, but it's not our place to pass judgement on the new owner. Think about it. The Dell was on the market for years. It would have been nice if one of us, an original Dell rat, had been able to buy it; but sometimes in life you just don't get a storybook ending.

This gentleman is the one who came up with the money to buy the Dell and we have no right to dictate what he can and can't do on the property. The new owner had his reasons for demolishing those old buildings. He has the safety of children and dogs to consider and he did what he thought was best. Those of us who insist that the buildings could have been saved through repair and restoration need to realize the tens of thousands of dollars that would have required. Who among us would have been able and willing to help him bear that tremendous expense?

Believe me, friends, the new owner has read my previous post and he will read this one. He is well aware of our love for the Dell and he understands how we feel. What's done
is done and there's no use ranting and raving about it.

At a time like this we need to remember our leader, a great, wise, even tempered, fair minded and peace loving man by the name of John Ettline. Ask yourself how John would have handled a situation like this. What would John have done? The answer should be obvious to you. Show respect. I urge you to give the Shady Dell's new First Family the respect, the space and the privacy they deserve. Thank you.

No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity

The end.

30 comments:

  1. I am so very sorry for this outcome, one I'm sure the current owner didn't arrive at without careful consideration. In the heart, though, the Dell will live on as it was at its peak, with music, fun, food, and much laughter adorning the walls forever.

    Thank you, my friend, for this moving and wise post.

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    1. Thank you, Shelly. You're right, and I hope every Dell rat reads your words before commenting. It's time for closure. Indeed, some of the physical trappings are gone, but the Dell will live on through our pictures, our music and the stories we share with each other. For more than four years the front page of this blog has included the following powerful affirmation: "MORE THAN A PLACE, THE SHADY DELL WAS AND WILL FOREVER REMAIN A STATE OF MIND." The Shady Dell is alive and well, right here, right now. Thank you very much for your visit, dear Shelly, and have a wonderful week.

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  2. Hi Tom I've just listened to the song and gone back and looked at the photographs a few times to take them all in. I was hoping that this was not what you had alluded to in your last post, unfortunately my guesses were correct and it really breaks my heart, so I can't even imagine how you and your fellow dell rats are feeling.

    The saddest photos to see were of the bricks with the red paint on one side and the writing on the other.

    I admire your grace in writing about the new owners and your understanding of their reasons for doing what they did.

    All I can say Tom is that the memories you have of inside those walls and how they make you feel are stronger than any man made building and will stand the test of time.



    Wishing you a great week,

    Emma x

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    1. Beautiful words from your beautiful heart and mind, dear Emma. Thank you. I'm sure it is hard for you to look at these images in spite of the fact that you are generations removed and an ocean away from our "ground zero." You can relate to the loss we are all feeling. We still have our music, our memories and hundreds of high quality pictures taken over the years. Therefore, we can and should regard the glass as half full. Thank you again, dear friend Emma, for the comforting words you offered us here today.

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  3. So true. A beautiful presentation once again. I stand by my previous comments, in that the Shady Dell will always live because it's alive in so many memories. In your heart you'll always hear the music. And I hope that perhaps you got a brick as a physical reminder? It would be a shame for the graffitied memories to go to waste.

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    1. Hi, karen! Thank you very much for coming by and for bringing with you, as always, a great deal of compassion and wisdom. Since I live nearly a thousand miles away now I was unable to secure a concrete block from the rubble. Naturally to have one shipped down to me would have been very costly. It's not necessary. As you pointed out we no longer need the physical trappings of our youth in order to experience them and become empowered by them. The Dell is very much alive in my mind and heart and reflected in my spirit day to day. I greatly appreciate your compliment on the manner in which I chose to present this story. You're the best, karen!

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  4. My dear Tom, What a beautifully presented post. Of course, you are so good at hitting just the right note every time. Such devastation in the photos. That solitary television set just standing there looked so sad. And you could also see the graffiti on the bricks :( As you quite rightly said, it would take so much money to have saved these precious buildings. I agree with all the others that The Shady Dell will always remain intact in your head and in your heart. I also admire you in the comments you made about the new owners. It would have been so easy to have been bitter about it, but that's not the Tom that we all know and love. You have been very brave in this post, but I know just how much this whole scenario affected you. Sending you hugs my friend.

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    1. Hugs to you, dear friend Thisisme. I think we all feel better when we take the high road and choose to come from love, understanding and compassion rather than from hate. There are at least two sides to every issue and we would all be blind if we didn't try to see this one from the new owner's perspective. He has a family which includes children and five dogs. Why take a chance that one of them could get seriously injured exploring those old out buildings? We need to trust that the universe is unfolding as it should. "Onward and upward," a great and special friend of mine once said. Thank you very much for being here today, dear Thisisme.

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  5. So its true. Gosh, on the one hand I kinda understand where the owner is coming from (I mean you cant have a unsafe building on your property) but on the other hand how do they not understand the history that they are tearing down cinder block by cinder block. They bought the house knowing about its history and that probably had some influence on the purchase and now they dont want to invest in preserving that history? I realize that its costly but I am sure that if they had reached out to the Dell community we could have had fundraisers and what not to help with the costs. I dont know. In the end its not my place to judge but I'm gonna judge a little bit anyway.

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    1. I hear you, Amber, but in this case, I don't think the purchase was motivated by the desire to own a piece of history. The Dell house was thoroughly renovated and today looks as fresh and new as the day it was built a century ago. It will make a wonderful home for this large family. Truth be told, however, the three aging structures in question were an eyesore that detracted from the stately beauty of the house. It's easy to understand why he chose to tear them down and erect a brand new building or buildings in their place. At least two Dell rats I know of went to the demolition site and retrieved blocks of graffiti as keepsakes. The rest went to a landfill. It seems like a cruel fate but in the eyes of a third party who has no emotional ties to the Dell of old the actions taken make perfect sense. Thank you very much for coming over and expressing yourself, dear friend Amber!

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    2. just wanted to say thanks for the well wishes. I sure hope this storm misses us but it doesnt look good. If you dont hear from me in a while I'm probably just wholed up in my house cursing the electric company

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    3. Hi, dear Amber! I didn't mean to worry you but I know how awful these storms can be and I know you endured hardships last winter. I'm hoping for the best, kiddo. Grab your favorite mix tapes, stock up on comfort foods, whiskey and rye, hunker down and ride her out. My thoughts and prayers will be with you, Kev and Ollie. Bless you!

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  6. Hi Tom! I'm so sorry to be reading all the loss and heartbreak. I started with the past post first and came back to this one after reading it. I can only imagine the heartache and frustration that all of you are feeling but I also very much admire your outlook on the situation and embracing the fact there isn't much else that could be done, especially within your control or the control of the other Dell Rats. In the perfect world one (or several) of the Dell Rats could have come together and purchased it and revamped it - however, the world isn't perfect, instead its filled with heartbreak - but more importantly those walls were filled with so many memories, and luckily those will always be yours. Hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, Kristina, it is a most pleasant surprise to hear from you, dear friend. You certainly brought your A game in the form of great wisdom. It's true. There is plenty of sadness and heartbreak to go around in the wake of recent events, but at the same time it is extremely gratifying to find so many kind people like you coming by to express their sympathy. We all need to pick and choose our battles in life and in this specific case a battle is not justified. To go on crying over spilled milk just isn't the Dell rat way. Our memories are intact and we have many pictures to remind us of the Dell's glory years. Thank you very much, dear Kristina, for your visit and sagacious remarks.

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  7. You're a stand-up guy Shady! Even through your heartache and disappointment, you find a place in your heart for respect of the situation. Mr. Ettline is truly proud of you right now...you have stood up for him as well. It is a devastating sight, my friend, and, one thing that hurts is the etchings I saw on some of the concrete blocks-of good times past.

    You and, all others will always marvel about the Shady Dell, you'll remember the things you laughed about, the music, the dancing (what a large dance floor that was!) And, most of all, you'll remember why you went there in the first place...and, why you continued to go (we, your friends know). The Dell had a lasting, and, I believe, positive impact on your entire life. The things you experienced and learned, the comaraderie with your peers and the Ettlines (home away from home), a safe haven that allowed individualism and freedom to express yourself, thus unveiling your real personality! And, you know, the Dell guided you to the accomplishments you've made since then.

    Kudos to you Shady! You'll keep it alive in the hearts of all those who loved it with you!♥

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    1. Susan, your comment is brilliantly written and greatly appreciated. In many ways The Dell was a grand experiment. An aging couple provided a playground for teenagers, an informal setting where they could gather in large numbers, interact, dance and let off steam with limited supervision. In today's world it could easily spell disaster but the difference back then was the sense of "home" that John and Helen Ettline provided for us. The Ettlines treated their young partons like family. They treated kids with respect and got the same in return. We stepped up and took responsibility for each other, looked out for each other, policed each other and made the experiment work because we knew we would never have that recipe again. Your words of kindness touched my heart, dear Susan, and I thank you very much for sharing your gifts with me and with us.

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  8. That must have been a great and open dance floor....

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    1. Hello, Haddock! I welcome you, my friend, all the way from India. It was a spacious. dance floor. Made of solid oak and covered in a thin layer of magic "Dell dust," the dance floor provided space for dozens of couples to move freely to the music, often in line dance formations a la Hairspray. Thank you very much for your visit, Haddock, and I hope to see you again soon.

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  9. It was as you said Tom--- A grand experiment and I was proud to be part of it. A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

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    1. Thanks, Greg. I'd go as far as to say that there was never any place quite like the Dell before it came along and hasn't been any place like it since. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time.

      Good buddy, we need to keep in mind that the Dell didn't "die" overnight. It started to die when the music changed in the late 60s. It died a little more when Helen passed away in 1984 and a little more when heavy metal music ruled the jukebox and the crowd of patrons turned rough and disrespectful to John. It died even more when John closed the doors and passed away two years later. The barn and dance hall have been on the chopping block for years. When the Dell was sold to a person other than a Dell rat, all bets were off and this was the result. We can't blame the new owner for not having experienced what we did and not having the same sentimental attachment to those buildings.

      I know you're still hurting, Greg. Believe me so am I. So is Jerre. So is Ron. So is our buddy Dell Rat Brian who checks in to the blog from time to time. So is Kathleen and so Toni. Each of us will gain closure and be able to move forward at our own pace. Thank you very much for your comment, Greg.

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  10. Weeks ago my daughter and I visited the Dell's barn for the last time. The place was dark and eerily quiet, with only occasional scratching from branches being tossed against the dusty windows and walls by a passing breeze.

    More than 90 years ago this place would have been noisy and bustling with activity, with mechanics' tools tapping and clanking away on the first automobiles in York County and childish voices and laughter from my mother and her siblings drifting down the stairs from the loft above where they played. Outside, barking dogs and cooing pigeons would have added to the mix of sounds.

    Silence now enveloped everything and the atmosphere was heavy with inevitability. After standing for nearly a century in every kind of weather, time and decay were claiming the old barn and garage. Floorboards were crumbling in spots. Dust and cobwebs filled every corner. Mustiness, mold and dampness pervaded everything from rain that had poured in through holes in the roof. The time had come for these buildings to be dismantled; they simply could not be saved. Elisabeth and I said our goodbyes because we knew we would never be in this place again.

    As we pulled shut the heavy door and walked into the bright sunshine, I felt sad but grateful - for the strong men who carried and mortared the stones for the foundation and hewed the beams to build this structure - for my grandfather for envisioning it and overseeing it's construction - for Toni and her family's kindness in letting us experience it as often as we liked and for allowing us, Allie and George's descendants, to pay homage to our Brown ancestors.

    Although not one of the official Dell rats, I certainly sympathize with them as they face their teenage hangout becoming a private home and their dance hall disappearing. Mother felt the same way years ago when she learned that the kitchen where she had almost died as a child had been turned into a snack bar and the yard by the original grapevine into a dance floor.

    She was sad at first, but not bitter. If her long life has taught her anything, it is that change will always come and must be accepted. She has adapted and forgiven the alterations to her childhood home that were made by others, the Ettlines included, and we can do the same with the Shady Dell's most recent form too - if we want.

    As I walked between and around the piles of burning rubble from not only the remains of the barn, but the dance hall too, I tried mightily to adopt her philosophy. In all this finality I was also reminded of a quote by Soren Kierkegaard:

    "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

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    1. Thank you, Kathleen. You made an important point. It was jarring for mother Margaret to see pictures of how her old home, the Dell, had been modified mid century, the first floor of the house turned into a restaurant and part of the courtyard into a dance floor. Dell rats need to keep that in mind as they process the latest round of changes taking place at the Dell. No one can strip us of our memories. They are ours to keep. Time and energy spent stewing about things over which we have no control is time and energy wasted. Your mother didn't live to be 100 by dwelling on life's disappointments. We need to follow Margaret's example and handle this situation in a manner that would make our leader John Ettline proud. Thank you very much for another stellar comment, dear Kathleen!

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  11. Yes it is sad to see the ruins but we do have the awesome memories and images from your past posts to enjoy in the future. Nothing can take the lovely memories away and for that I am grateful.

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    1. Thank you, Odie. Your words are comforting. I know you are mourning the loss of your dear Aunt Katie and my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours, good buddy.

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  12. Simon and Garfunkel can often make me melancholy but coupled with these photos of such an amazing place, filled with memories, good tunes, adolescence, and camaraderie, it brought tears to my eyes. Just lovely Shady, as always.

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Alabee. I have known you for two years and never doubted for a moment that you would be profoundly affected by the juxtaposition of that particular song and these images. I shed many tears producing this post and the previous one. Again I thank you, dear friend, for coming by and sharing our sadness with us.

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  13. Memories of The Dell will always live on, just as any legacy does. We've filled this home with something important, not only life again but a love for the property.

    We have enjoyed hearing the history and stories of The Dell - momentos that were remaining, we have given them to those who have asked. We have much respect for those who are attahced to what once was.

    Thanks to those who have shared with us their fond memories. The Dell is once again a place filled with life and love.



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    1. New Memories - Hello and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am very grateful to you for coming forward and offering your perspective. As Kathleen Mae Schneider stated the Dell has come full circle now. It is once again a family's home as it was when her mother lived there as a child. It is good and right that the Dell is once again filled with life and love and laughter just as it was during the Brown and Spangler years. I have no doubt that you love the property you now own. I thank you for assuring us that you understand our deep attachment to a place that played a major role in shaping our young lives and that you are sympathetic to our need to mourn this loss. Again I thank you for stepping forward to express what you did today. I hope you will continue to be a part of our Shady Dell family. The doors of our online version of the Shady Dell are always open and you are always welcome here.

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  14. As Diane noted, I was also moved by the photos of bricks that had graffiti on them. It is certainly sad to see the dance hall go. It is so wonderful you have all the pictures from the Shady Dell to keep its memory intact. I want to say I'm sorry to all the Dell Rats who have been affected by the demolition.

    The last time I went to Loma Linda and Redlands, California to see my childhood homes I had a hard time finding them as so much had changed. The orange grove beside one house was gone; there is a medical building in its place. There were new buildings everywhere, but the houses do remain. One of them was the first one I lived in when when we moved there; I was 6 years old. The pasture where I used to pet horses on the way to school is also gone. It is hard to see nature swallowed up by buildings but I do have good memories of those places.

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    1. Hi, Belle! I am so pleased you came back to this post so that you can experience what original Dell rats are feeling in the wake of the demolition. History certainly has turned a few pages since I started this blog more than four years ago. There have been many happy surprises and some terrible disappointments but that's life. that's what people say, you're riding high in April, shot down in May (or September, in this case). Thank you very much for your kind words, dear friend. They and you are greatly appreciated!

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