I have few memories of being five, but this particular day at the beach is recalled in part in vivid detail.
Being a city boy, it was rare that my family made the long drive to the ocean for a day at the beach. On this particular day, mom and I as well as my aunt and two cousins set out for just that. It was a beautiful day, sunny and hot.
The beach was crowded and the joy of summer seemed to fill the air. My cousins and I swam in the waves, dug in the sand and generally enjoyed our carefree day as our moms chatted and laughed between admonitions to stay close, stay together and let them know when we were heading back to the water.
My cousins were older and generally ignored me but I was content to play by myself. Enjoying the day and the novelty of the place, I must have become oblivious to the crowds, the bustle and my mommy’s warnings. Building in the sand, digging a hole and filling it with water seemed such a good idea. Off I trotted by myself to the waterfront to fill my pail.
Then horror struck, looking back all I could see was an ocean of people, blankets, and sun umbrellas. Each was indecipherable from the other. Suddenly my mother, my aunt and my cousins were simply gone.
Why is one mistake always compounded by another? Instead of staying put and waiting to be found, I started off to find those that I had lost, becoming even more hopelessly lost. It seemed like hours but it was perhaps only minutes before a lifeguard had me reunited with a tearful mother, who hugged me close when I was given back into her care.
It was not long though before mommy’s tears of relief were quickly replaced with words of anger. My memory is more of the actions than of the words. I vaguely recalled being castigated in words for failing to obey mommy’s warnings but I have strong recollections of the actions she took.
As she rebuked me for my misbehaviour, her fingers were inserted into the waistband of my swimming trunks. With a purposeful tug, she snagged the still-wet material and dragged the suit over my chubby bottom and down to my ankles.
In front of God and all the people at the beach (who seemed to have all eyes focused on my very upset mom and this very naughty little boy), I stood totally naked, unprepared for the spanking that would immediately follow.
Before I was aware of the seriousness of my situation, I found myself face down over my mommy’s lap, my still-damp bottom feeling the sting of the first of many, many hard slaps that would rain down, punishing my bare cheeks.
I squirmed and kicked and wailed as mommy smacked my bottom hard and fast. I heard the vague sound of the words she spoke as the spanking progressed but was only truly aware of the constant sting and the strong desire to escape my fate. And for some reason I was also very aware that everyone on the beach was watching mommy turn my damp, white bottom a vibrant, hot red.
The spanking continued until mommy’s worry and anger abated and she was satisfied that her naughty boy had truly learned his lesson. And I had.
Lifted off her lap, punished and safe, mommy hugged me again before helping me to put back on my swim suit – covering a very soundly spanked bottom.