In the late 1940s it was common practice to punish children with spanking – yet by the age of nine I never had gotten one. My friends spent many a time over their parents’ knees, winding up with a sore bottom, but I got grounded or had my privileges revoked for a period of time. I used to tell my friends that Mom ‘does not spank’.
One summer Saturday, two friends and I went to the local movie theatre and stayed for over five hours. On the walk home, they both were moaning that they were going to ‘get it good’. As we rounded the corner, there were the three moms sitting on the front step of our apartment house. My friends started to cry as we got closer.
Each mom reached out, grabbed their son by the arm (or, in my case, by the ear) and marched us upstairs. Bobbie lived on the second floor, I was on the third and Irwin was on the fourth. As we passed the second floor, Bobbie’s mom told my mother: “I will send it up to you with Rose (Bobbie’s younger sister) as soon as I finish with him.” By now I was beginning to be more then concerned, as I knew what was about to happen on the floors above and below.
My mother marched me to my bedroom and ordered me into my pyjamas. She said: “Go to the bathroom, come back to your room and wait for me.”
I then heard the noise from below – Bobbie was getting it good.
After a while, the noise stopped and then our front door bell rang. My mother said hello to Rose and thanked her. I was called to the living room. A kitchen chair had been placed in the centre of the room. My mother was stood next to it, with a leather paddle that I had seen in a shoemaker’s repair shop window down the street. Bobbie’s mom had sent it up with Rose.
My mom called me to her. I backed away, but she came after me and gave me a blow with the paddle on my thinly-covered rear, I then was dragged to the chair and placed over her knees, with the pyjama bottoms first removed.
The first blow sent shockwaves through me, and was followed by another 30 or so. My rear was ablaze. I was then sent to the wall and told to stand there for 15 minutes. Mom said she was not finished – the first spanking was for the years she had not spanked. After 15 minutes, she repeated the punishment, this time giving me about 20 spanks.
The next day, we went shopping at the shoemakers for our own paddle. It was put to use that day, and at least once or twice a week until I was 13. My mom also bought a pair of bright red pull-on shorts and I had to wear them until she had a chance to change my bottom to the same colour.