Betty was our matriarch; at 13, I think, a year older than me.
We used to go for long, innocent walks on Sunday mornings. When I say innocent, I mean that in those days – around 1939 – kids accepted the standards of their parents: we did not use ‘rude’ words or talk about anything ‘rude’ – such as bottoms, or anything sexual.
I called my own sexual organ a ‘dicky’ but I would never have breathed the word to a girl. I simply did not have a word for the female sexual organ. What I do not mean is that I had an innocent soul: my imagination was filled with all sorts of things which could not be made public!
In particular, I was fascinated by thoughts of nudity. Not just female, but male as well: though as I grew up I had no gay impulses. But at that time nudity was not only ‘rude’ but something fascinating and forbidden. Boys and girls were never allowed to see each other undressed, and indeed I’d never seen a girl dressed in less than a bathing costume.
I’d heard of – but never experienced – bare bottom smackings. The only legitimate way a boy or girl could see another undressed would be to witness such an incident. I never had. But the idea plagued me: I asked my friends if they were ever given bottom-smackings. I’m sure some of them were, but they all said ‘no’.
On one of our walks, Betty asked me if I were going to see the film Lloyds of London. I said yes. Then she said: “In that film, the boy has to take his trousers down.” Her eyes glittered – and then she quickly changed the subject.
I was puzzled, but when I saw the film it turned out that the boy was going to be punished. This made me think Betty would be interested in bottom-smacking. (A very courageous guess, because I had thought my own interest in bare bottom smacking was uniquely mad.)
Not long after, in her ‘den’ (probably nobody now knows what a ‘den’ was – kids built hideaways from branches in hedges, within which they couldn’t be observed), Betty matriarchally decreed we would play ‘mothers and fathers’. This must sound quite chidish, but then we were children. She decreed she would be the mother and I, the oldest boy, the father.
There were quite a few kids there – I can’t remember how many, nor all their names. But some stand out – especially Derek and Joyce, both hardly younger than me, 11 or 12. There must have been four or five other boys and girls. All of them were in thrall to Betty.
After a lot of playing getting breakfast and getting ready for school and other nonsense, Betty said: “Father, these children have been getting naughtier and naughtier, especially Derek.” I said: “Well, you must punish them.” “No,” she said, “you’re the father – I leave smacking them to you.”
“Come on Derek,” I said, “bend over and touch your toes for a smack.” Laughing, he bent over.
But Betty interrupted: “That’s no good – take his trousers down!” “Hey Derek,” I said, also laughing, “you heard Betty.” To my astonishment, Derek straightened up, undid his belt and dropped his pants around his ankles. His shirt waved about the top of his thighs. “Now bend over,” I said.
He did, but his shirt still shrouded his behind. Betty came up, lifted his shirt and revealed his bare bottom to all. She gave it two light smacks, then said: “Father, give it to him properly.” I was already full of a mysterious delight and I think the other kids were enjoying the sight of his nude buttocks too.
Seized by the moment, I said to Betty: “Don’t you think he should strip?” She nodded. I turned to Joyce. “Do you think he should have to undress bare?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said, “smack him bare naked.” “Well,” I said, “if you want to watch, you’ll have to do as you’re told as well.”
“Right, Derek, take off the rest of your clothes.” Again, to my amazement, he shrugged off his jacket and pulled his shirt over his head, standing now in nothing but his shoes and socks. “And your shoes and socks.” I said, and then he was completely naked.
Whenever I had thought of girls or boys being undressed bare for a good tanning I found that my own “dickie” had grown stiff, and I was amazed to see that the same thing had happened to Derek. All the kids were fascinated, especially Joyce.
“Give him a few smacks, Joyce,” I said. Joyce went behind Derek and smacked each buttock twice. Derek still smiled, and if anything his penis stood straighter.
“You must punish Joyce too,” said Betty. She paused. “Naked, of course.”
“No!” yelled Joyce, but Derek and a couple of the younger boys grabbed her and started to pull at her clothes. “Oh, all right,” she said, and soon she pulled off her things and was standing there nude as well.
“And all the rest of you,” said Betty. Every kid, without a word of protest, stripped absolutely stark naked. And all but the youngest boy showed erect appreciation.
“I’m going to smack the boys and you smack the girls,” Betty ordered. We took them one by one over our knees, smacking lightly but with relish. I had two naked girls over my knee before it was Joyce’s turn. I made her stand up in complete nudity in front of me and slapped her delightful buttocks a bit harder than the others before she went over my knee.
When Betty got to Derek she cut a small leafy branch off the tree and used that on him, though it probably hurt him less than her hand. Then I lined all the kids up and smacked every bottom one by one.
It wasn’t the smacking, though that was fine, but the fact that they were all every one shamefully naked that gave me the most excitement.
Nobody breathed a word of all this; the kids knew this game would be disapproved of, but they wanted to play again . . . and we did.