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C R Lord Autobiography >> Rick >> The Early Years >>

The Early Years

Cameron Park In Sunbury
Deck Looking Over The Susquehanna River

According to my mother I was born in Sunbury, PA  on a very rainy morning, and she was hoping I'd be born quickly because she was very tired and wanted to rest. It was on Sunday, September 27, 1942, and I was born when doctor's still made house calls to deliver babies.  So I was born in our house, and I don't know the address.

You can read the history of Sunbury and and other pertinent facts here.

I don't remember anything about the first eight years.  I know now that I had an older sister Janice and an older brother Paul who was born with cerebral palsy.  I also know now that my father, Paul Lester Shaffer, was a truck driver who was never around  except to visit my mother, sire another baby and go back on the road.  Beside me, my mom and dad had five other children together before they finally divorced.  After me Donna was born, then David and finally Michael who was three months old before mom adopted him out because she couldn't keep up with all of us and work a job!  To the best of my knowledge, my father contributed little, if anything, to our family in the way of financial support.  I guess I'll never know one way or the other, but his lifestyle strongly suggests that he did nothing.  

At some point in his life he married again and he  was on a bus with his wife's check to gamble in Las Vegas and fell over dead on the way.  I am guessing it was a stroke or heart attack but I never found out.       

My first clear memory begins when I was eight years of age.  My father decided that he didn't want my brother Paul and I anymore.  I don't know how  he picked us.  Perhaps it was random or perhaps he had some specific reason, but whatever it was I never found out.  He took Paul and I in his truck without telling our mother, and drove to Michigan where he dropped us off with a family that didn't want us and left, never to return.  I don't have any memory of how Paul or I felt then but I am sure we were frightened and hurt inside.  I know that I carried hatred for my father in my heart for 23 years from that time, and thought how much I would like to severely beat him if he ever came to my door.  

Anyway, there we were in Michigan far from our home and mom in Pennsylvania and with no idea what was going to happen to us since the family we were left with didn't want us and treated us in a way to let us know it.  Shortly after that a couple came from another place in Michigan and took me with them because they wanted a son of their own.  Somehow our mom found out where Paul was and he was able to return home.  It took my mom about a year to find me and that year was a special one for me.  

I was living with people who really wanted me and cared about me, I was the only child in the house, it was on a farm, and the people's names were Pearl and Bernard Good which was quite appropriate because I remember them as "good" people. They were kind and a little strict but it was a good life.   They were Catholic and so they sent me to a Catholic school, and the only thing I remember about that was when I was being bad the nuns would hit me with hangers made of wood. I didn't want to return home to the same poverty, crowded quarters, and struggle my family always lived under, but when mom found me the Goods drove me from Michigan back to our house in Pennsylvania and life picked back up where it left off a year earlier.

Me As A Baby
My Sister Donna And I
All My Siblings And I
Paul L. Shaffer Jr.

This is my older brother Paul who was born with cerebral palsy. In the picture above he is the second person from the top in age order.  Janice is the oldest and I came in third.  Paul had to learn to how to walk because he couldn't do it at first, and later he had braces that would support him while he learned to walk.  He was placed in the Good Shepherd's home in Allentown, PA for a while and learned how to walk without braces.  He would walk with his toes turned inwards, but he could walk nonetheless.  

A  big highlight in Paul's life was when he had the special opportunity to present  a picture he drew of actress Debbie Reynolds to her personally.  She was an actress he had a crush on, so he was very 

excited about it.  We still have  a picture of that presentation.

Paul had a rough life, as you can imagine.  Some of the kids in our generation would mock him or make fun of him, and one time we were out trick or treating and they took away his candy.  As he got older he got bitter for a while and allowed things to make him that way, and then finally he began to enjoy life near the end.  I spoke to him about the Lord, but to my knowledge he never turned to Jesus for salvation.  I really hope I am wrong on that point because he suffered so much in this life.  Paul died suddenly in Florida where he was living with our younger brother David and his wife.  Our children grew to love him, and they miss him even though it's been a while since he died.  It is a sad thing to me that he  could have had so much more happiness in life if only he had turned his life over to the Lord.  So many other people suffer needlessly for the same reason.  I pray someone who reads this would benefit from what happened to my brother and trust Christ to fill your life with his loving care.  We don't know how much time we have left.  Receiving Salvation from God is the most important thing anyone could ever do in their life!   If you haven't done that by now, please, for your own sake, please ask God to forgive you today!                                                                                                                                                                                                

1st Train Station In America With Lights
Weis Markets Is In Three States
America's Smallest Hot Dog Stand
The Sunbury Courthouse and Tower Clock
The Flood Wall With Metal Steps
Cameron Park Cannon

the orphanage