What a time to be born! Adolph Hitler is marching across Eastern Europe eliminating Jews, wanting to rule the world with his Aryan population. Aryan – white skin, blue eyes, blonde hair and of German descent – the perfect human being in his eyes.
And here was another Jewish baby entering the world, a girl no less. Girl babies were not as important to the world then as boy babies. Enter Doris Shaffer, girl about 6 to 7 pounds, September 4, 1929. Every 7 years the birthday falls on Labor Day, so it becomes a weekend celebration, my birthday and the end of summer.
Just learning to breathe and barely opening my eyes, I already expereinced love at first sight. That gentle, sweet, kind loving voice that warmed me all over, every time I heard it, my dad. A love affair was beginning and was to last only 23 years, but enough time to learn respect and admiration. Loving grew into adoring and the sweet gentle voice continued, most times encouraging, sometimes disciplining, correcting, but always sweet and gentle.
The first grandchild on my dad’s side of the family was a girl, hopes were for a boy, wanting to name him David after my young grandfather who had passed away at age 32 in England, before the family migrated to America, after fleeing from Hitler in Poland, safely making it to England.
Second girl and again no David. Then here I appear, another girl, not quite a David, but not wanting to wait any longer, gave me the Jewish name of Davida. Interestingly, the name dolores was first choice until my dad heard that ‘dolor’ means pain in Spanish and would not let me start life with that hat. After my birth, there were two boy babies born, and yes, both were named David.
Calvin coolidge was then the 30th President of the United States and in 1929, Herbert Hoover was elected to be the new president, both having been Republicans. And in 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat came into office and he probably became one of the greatest presidents of our time, guiding us through World War II, and the only president to be voted into office for 3 terms.
As a little girl, my mom always put a big bow in my hair and I was nicknamed “Kitty Higgins” (who was a popular little girl cartoon character in the newspapers at that time).
My dad, Albert Shaffer, was a business owner and my mom, Isabel was a working mom, working most of my growing up years. She did not like being a housewife, was a career woman, when no one had even invented that title.
My earliest recollections are of my dad being very depressed, having lost everything in the Great Depression. That lasted almost 8 years, for most of my early years. My mom had this philosophy which resonates over and over in my psyche…”When you are down to your very last nickel, things will turn around.”
Which they did, my dad started a new business, manufacturing the only pocket pencil sharpener in the world, made out of something called catalin, today known as bakelite.
He met Walt Disney traveling across country on a train and they became friends, and the few new characters Walt Disney had developed were now imprinted on pocket pencil sharpeners and were sold in SS Kresge’s and Woolworths national 5 & 10 cent stores.