I attended a small private high school in the south during the 70s where corporal punishment was the preferred method of dealing with unruly students. Somehow I managed to avoid being paddled during my first ten years of school.
As I entered 11th grade, I smugly believed I had passed the age at which I could be paddled. My history teacher, Mrs K, was a tall, Rubenesque woman with a reputation as our school’s premiere boardsmith. While I had heard stories of her warming the behinds of some freshmen and sophomores, I had never heard of her paddling any upper classmen.
One day I walked into her classroom and encountered one of my friends, who made a derogatory comment about the shirt I was wearing. Mrs K was not in the room at the time, so I told my friend to eat me. Just then, I felt a strong hand on my shoulder and terrified, I turned around to see Mrs K.
“I think you better come with me, young man,” she said, as she spun me around and marched me out into the the hallway. She told me to wait right there and then she went back into the classroom for what seemed like an eternity.
When she came back out, she was carrying a large wooden paddle with several small holes drilled into it. The handle was wrapped in black tape so that she could get a firm grip. It was truly a menacing-looking instrument.
She ordered me to empty my pockets, bend over and grab my ankles. She said that I was to receive a total of five licks and if I let go of my ankles before she was finished, she would start all over. I told myself that no matter how bad it hurt, I had to preserve my dignity, that I would not cry, and would smile when I came back into the room.
After the first whack, I realized how difficult that was going to be. The pain was searing – I felt like my backside was on fire. She took her time and let each blistering whack soak in before delivering the next.
After the third lick, I felt a tear run down my cheek. It was all I could do to not let go of my ankles, and when she had finished, the tears flowed freely. I had to then go back to the classroom and face my classmates, red-faced and sore-bottomed.
I was on my best behaviour for the rest of the school year and managed to avoid another paddling. The next year, however, I smarted off to a substitute teacher, and she sent me to Mrs K to be paddled. This time, Mrs K gave me two extra licks because it was my second offence and sent me back to my classroom sobbing.
When I saw Mrs. K at our ten-year reunion, she made me turn red again by recounting these stories to my wife. My wife then said that maybe she should get her old sorority paddle down from the attic to keep me in line at home!