As a child of the 60s, it will come as no surprise to learn that my mother was a firm believer in smacking her children when they misbehaved. This account gives a few details about my own spankings at home.
I presume that I received, as most children do, more informal slaps on both my bottom and the backs of my legs when I was a little boy but I can’t say I remember much about them. By the time I was old enough to remember individual punishments, maybe three or four, I was already receiving more formal spankings, or ‘smack-bottoms’ as they were usually called in our house.
I think mum nearly always took down our trousers and underpants before smacking us – certainly I came to regard the baring of my bottom as an integral part of the punishment, and only in later years, going on eight or nine, did I begin to find the prospect embarrassing. By that time, of course, most boys are averse to the idea of their mum seeing their bare bottom or privates.
Almost invariably we were taken over mum’s knee to receive our due. I have many memories of gazing at the woollen skirt draped over her lap, ready to receive me as soon as the customary lecture was over. Towards the end of my ‘spanking years’, I can remember a couple of occasions when she presumably deemed me too big to go over her knee and I was required to bend over, hands on knees, as we were required to do at school when receiving corporal punishment.
Her choice of tool for the job rarely varied. I can remember getting the wooden spoon once (again, I think it was one of the later ‘big boy’ smackings) and certainly I have felt the back of her hand, but usually it was the slipper making our bottoms sore. This was an ordinary lady’s house slipper with a sky-blue velour upper and a flexible, very stingy rubber sole. It was an old one of mum’s kept especially for smacking boys’ bottoms. When required it would be taken out, with due ceremony, from a drawer in the sideboard where it was kept.
This was in the lounge-dining room. When my brother and I were younger, smack-bottoms were given on the spot here. Having got out the slipper and placed it on the dining table, Mum would drag out one of the chairs with one hand while holding on to the unlucky boy with the other. She sat while you stood by her side, and trousers and pants were quickly lowered to your ankles.
Then came the lecture, fairly brief but tailored to leave the child in no doubt about what he had done naughty. Mum generally held the slipper as she lectured, sometimes smacking it lightly against her palm for dramatic effect.
Then it was time. She would take you by the wrist and place you in the nursery position and without further ado the punishment would be administered. She spanked very hard, or so it seemed when I was little – my guess is that in actuality it was quite merciful, unless we had behaved absolutely atrociously. But my bottom was always red and smarting and I would be in floods of tears. The punishment would usually finish with us being sent to our room, with the instruction not to come back down again until we were ready to say sorry.
I saw my big brother get his fair share too, though from about seven upwards we would be sent to our room to have our spanking there. Mum would come up with the slipper, after giving us a few minutes to think about what we had done, and administer it in the familiar fashion. While my brother and I rarely saw each other being spanked then, the sounds coming from the upstairs room left little to the imagination.
Mum stopped smacking us when we were about 11, but the threat of a ‘smack bottom’ persisted when we played up. I can remember one occasion when she threatened to get a cane for us, but she never did. We got the occasional smacking off dad (he generally just used his hand), but he worked away a great deal and so most of the household discipline landed literally in Mum’s lap.
Looking back, I remember those days with affection; the spankings did us a lot of good and they were always administered calmly and fairly. And in retrospect, I probably deserved every one!