My mother was one who believed in physical punishments. In our house, this gradually became the standard remedy for any sort of misbehaviour or disobedience. Although I don’t recall more than the occasional smack as a very young child, from when I was seven (and my sisters 10 and six) spankings in the more traditional sense became the order of the day.
I’m not sure what brought about the change, which occurred gradually. However, over a short period of time, getting a spanking from Mother became a much more formal – and painful – affair.
At first, these spankings were administered with an old wooden spoon from the kitchen, but finding that insufficient, Mom moved on to a flat wooden ruler, which admittedly was more effective for the job. That remained in regular use around the house for a year or so, until it was broken or misplaced somehow and Mom went through a series of flimsier rulers and paint-stirrers, trying to find a suitable replacement.
Eventually, she settled on using the long, flat wooden slats she had left over from the building of a small garden wall. These, I regret to say, were more than adequate. They imparted an unbelievable sting and made sitting down after a spanking a chore of great difficulty.
My sisters and I were always obliged to help out around the house with various jobs, one of which was to take out the day’s trash in the evenings. This was to be deposited in a large barrel in the back garden, where it would be burned every few days when enough had accumulated.
Eventually, the idea occurred to us to deposit the hated spanking stick in there as well. It was with no small satisfaction that we watched it go up in flames. Of course, there were three or four more lying around but in a few weeks we managed to take care of those as well.
Needless to say, we hadn’t counted on what the outcome of this prank might be. Although she never said as much, I’m sure Mom had at least some idea of where her trusty spankers were disappearing to – or at least who was responsible for their disappearance.
Unbeknown to us, she responded by asking her brother to help her out by fashioning a suitable wooden paddle in his workshop. This he did, and soon we all looked back even on the slats with a kind of nostalgia.
The paddle was more than a foot long, several inches across and perhaps a quarter of an inch thick. Worst of all, Mom had asked our uncle to drill two neat little rows of holes through the centre of it, which made it sting even more than the dreaded slats had.
If we hated the slats, we really feared that paddle. I was 10 years old when it arrived and probably got spanked with it almost once a month until after I turned 14, when Mom suddenly stopped using it altogether (on my younger sister as well) and instituted a policy of grounding and other more suitably mature punishments.
The acquisition of the paddle brought a change in the way we were spanked as well. Until then, we had always been sent to our rooms when Mom deemed a spanking necessary, where we were made to wait a few minutes until she came up with the ruler (or whatever) to administer justice.
When she arrived, she would calmly deliver a short lecture, sometimes accentuating her point by slapping the ruler across the palm of her hand. She would then undo my pants and order me to bend over the edge of my bed with my hands in front of me. Sometimes I was permitted to keeps my briefs on – other times she pulled those down as well, to my ankles.
If she wasn’t satisfied with my position, she’d say: “Get your rump up in the air, mister.” If I was being spanked for a repeat offence or something I’d been specifically warned about, she’d let me know that it would be harder than usual. “I’ve told you before, and i don’t expect to have to tell you again – it’ll be a whopper.” The spankings themselves usually consisted of anywhere between ten to 20 sharp cracks laid directly across the backside, each hurting more than the last.
This all changed when Mom got the paddle. For whatever reason, she decided to keep it stored under the couch in the living room. From that point on, if you heard Mom calling from the living room ‘get in here right now’ or you were told ‘go to the living room – we’ll discuss it in there’, you knew it meant you were in for it. Another common phrase was: “I’ll take the paddle to you when we get home – count on it.” We did, but with trepidation!
These spankings with the paddle always took place in the living room, publicly. We still got the lecture from Mom, with paddle already in hand, and this inevitably ended with the words: “All right – assume the position.” This meant we were to bend over the arm of the couch.
As before, we were usually allowed to keep our underwear on but the way Mom could swing that paddle, I doubt that it made much difference. Getting the paddle from Mom was no joking matter, and having to endure it was not pleasant. Mom would have us bend over the edge of the couch, our backsides well up in the air, and would lay that paddle on in a steady rhythm, seeming to hit her target in exactly the same place each time.
These paddlings really stung and eventually we would break down in tears and offer up the usual promises. What made this so humiliating was the fact that you had to take your medicine out in the open, in front of whoever might be around. Afterwards, you were sent to your room until dinner, or until the next day if the spanking had taken place in the evening.
As much as I hated the paddle at the time, looking back on it now I find that I hold my mother in pretty high esteem. She may have been strict but she was never unfair, and I can’t say that any of us ever got a spanking we didn’t richly deserve.
Even while disciplining us, she maintained a certain sense of jocularity and afterwards, all was forgotten and she was always very kind to us. Today, thinking about it, I must admit that I’m thankful for the upbringing I had and I certainly don’t have anything but warm feelings for my mother.
However, my older sister still jokes to this day that she still doesn’t know if she can forgive our uncle!