My younger brother and I were brought up in a small village in England back in the 1970s. Our parents were very old-fashioned in outlook and were also extremely strict with both of us, although discipline itself was carried out almost exclusively by mother.
The environment of our upbringing was very protective – perhaps too much so. In our house, sex was a taboo subject and friendships with members of the opposite sex were strictly forbidden. By the time that I was 12 or 13, I was quite naturally beginning to take an interest in boys, but was however extremely innocent.
Although I didn’t realise it at the time, my parents deliberately tried to dissuade any interest from boys by making me wear clothes which, at best, could be described as non-provocative. Whereas other girls went around in jeans, fashionable shoes etc, I only had plain skirts and the like to wear.
Unfortunately, there was one boy in my class, Richard, who nevertheless took a fancy to me and having discovered my address, wrote me a letter. As a matter of course, my post was opened and read by my parents before I got to see it and their reaction to the contents of the letter caused them to go up the wall.
I never actually got to see what was in the letter since it was destroyed – but I was told in no uncertain terms that I was to make it clear to Richard that he was not to write or contact me again. Indeed, my parents were so concerned that I later learned they went as far as trying to get the school to move me to another class.
The next day I spoke to Richard, explained the position and obtained his assurance that he wouldn’t embarrass me again. Unfortunately, though, he told one of his friends – who clearly thought that it would be highly amusing to write himself. The net result was that a few days later, a second letter arrived.
I arrived home from school to be greeted by a clearly highly irate mother. I was made to stand there for what seemed an age whilst she ranted and raved about how disobedient I had been, how I had clearly encouraged the boy and so forth.
To make matters worse, one of Mother’s friends had called around and sat there grim-faced, adding the occasional comment which only served to stoke the parental fire still further. My attempts to protest my innocence were virtually shouted down and it took Mother some time before she calmed down a little.
“Clearly, I need to demonstrate what happens to disobedient, wilful little girls like you,” Mother said, virtually spitting the words out in terms which I can still recall to this day, before strutting out to the kitchen – and returning a few moments later with her long, slender cane.
This was an instrument which she had often threatened to use but had thus far avoided doing so. I remember feeling absolutely terrified at the sight of her, flexing the stick menacingly.
“Bend over!” came the inevitable instruction which I immediately complied with, fearing that any hesitation would only serve to make things even worse.
I felt Mother come across and raise the hem of my skirt above my hips before putting her fingers into the waistband of my knickers and lowering them. By this time I was already in tears, not only at the terrifying prospect of being caned but of having to endure it across the bare bottom with both my brother and Mother’s friend looking on.
“Six of the best,” came the pronouncement of my sentence. “And don’t you dare get up before you’re told to, otherwise we’ll start all over again.”
I gritted my teeth and steeled myself for the first stroke which, when it came, felt as though I had been struck with a red hot poker, accompanied by a noise which sounded as though someone had shot a gun in the room. I can remember screaming out at the top of my voice and only just managing to avoid the natural reaction of standing up to protect myself.
There was a long pause between each stroke, Mother using the opportunity to deliver a short lecture, which I was in no condition to take in. I was made to take all six strokes, each as venomous as the first, and by the end I was so tearful that I could hardly see.
“Right – stand up, girl, and pull your knickers up,” came the instruction which at least signalled that my ordeal was over, or so I thought. “The next time either of you misbehaves, it’ll be the cane – understand?” Mother announced, addressing both my brother and myself, before returning her cane to the kitchen.
Although that was the end of the caning, it was far from the end of my ordeal. For the remainder of the afternoon, I was made to stand in a corner like some naughty five-year-old, facing the wall with my hands on my head waiting for Father to arrive home from work.
The clear implication was that I could well find myself on the receiving end of another ‘spanking’ (as Mother delightfully put it) if Father decided that it was necessary. With my backside still burning and smarting from the cane, I was naturally terrified of this possibility and it was a very long and anxious wait.
Upon arriving home, Father was given a graphic description of my alleged disobedience and what steps had been taken already. During the course of their discussion I had to remain in the corner, quaking in my shoes. Thankfully, it was decided that I had already been dealt with adequately, although I was to be ‘grounded’ for the duration of the forthcoming half-term holiday.