In the 1946-47 school year, going to the city schools in the Upper South, my second grade teacher was Ms Lucille, who happened to be an old high school chum of my mom’s.
City (public) schools were always staffed by female teachers at the elementary and junior high levels. Girls were rarely paddled but boys were routinely spanked by these women when they violated any school or teacher’s personal rule.
Ms Lucille was the most feared disciplinarian at Washington School and even kids in the rooms walked quickly by her open door.
Her technique involved almost maximum embarrassment in addition to the paddling. She would call the young man up to her desk. As he got to her side, she would reach in her top drawer and retrieve a paddle whose wood had darkened through many years of use.
She would lay the paddle on the top of her desk and talk calmly with the boy about what he was there for, give him a little hug and rapidly turn him face down over her lap.
After he was in position, she would pick up the paddle and rub it in a motion on his bottom. She would then instruct the class to put their heads down on the desk, so no-one would watch.
Then we would hear the loud whacks. Nobody got less than three – most got five to seven and extreme cases more than that. One time in the winter we all had our heads down listening to the whacks and the boohooing when I peeked across the aisle.
Ms Lucille’s little pet pupil, like me also called David, was standing up in his seat, watching what was going on up front. When Eugene, the boy getting the spanking, was done the class was told to raise their heads. Eugene came back to his seat, rubbing his eyes with one hand and his bottom with the other.
Ms Lucille then summoned David up in the usual ritual and then across her lap. The class was made to put their heads down again – then whack, whack, whack!
After five I thought, she would stop – great sobs and pleas were coming from David, but then a sixth and a seventh. More loud bawls and sobs came fourth, then an eighth and a ninth and a tenth. I was shocked, as David was her pet.
When David got back to his seat he put his head down on his desk and cried and sobbed for the remaining two hours until school was out.
Ms Lucille was about 48 or so, very tall and almost always wore a black suit trimmed in silver fox fur. To this day, I treasure her memory some 50 years later and honestly wish she was around so I could confess my misdeeds to her!