My aunt’s wooden spoon

When I was growing up, I spent the summers working on my aunt’s farm. My uncle had passed away a couple of years before and she continued to run the farm with a combination of hired hands and relatives’ children, like myself.

It was a huge old farmhouse and normally there would be about eight or nine kids, equally divided between boys and girls, spending the summer with her.

One thing was sure – she ran a very tight ship and while we had fun there, we also knew that if we strayed from the straight and narrow, we would suffer the consequences, no matter how young or old we were.

Punishments were always given in the same way. The offenders were told their fate and after dinner, they would assemble and stand against a pantry wall, and wait for their session with my aunt.

When she was ready, my aunt would come into the kitchen and remind us all of our transgressions. We would then be told to remove our pants or skirts, and stand there in our underwear and wait our time.

In random order (if there was more than one child to receive punishment), my aunt would call us over to where she was sitting, on an old, heavy wooden kitchen chair.

She would place us over her knee and then pull our underwear down to our knees. If there was more than one child being punished, they would witness the others being done as an added deterrent.

The implement of her choice was a big wooden spoon almost the size of her hand. Children under the age of 12 received 10 swats, plus one more for each year of their age. Kids 12 and over got 10 swats plus two for each year of their age.

The strokes were always aimed at where your bottom met your thighs and administered with maximum force, creating a loud ‘smack’ upon contact with your backside. Tears usually followed the first six or seven swats.

When she was finished, the offender’s bottom was a mottled red colour and it usually remained red and sore for at least a day or so.

Once the spanking was over, the child was escorted to the wall near the pantry and remained facing it for at least 30 minutes, or until they had stopped sobbing.

When my aunt was satisfied with her work, the culprits were told to pull their underwear back up and get dressed. We usually went to our rooms with tear-stained faces for the night and I always slept on my stomach after a smacking.

The punishments my aunt handed out were a huge deterrent and over an entire summer, I only got one or perhaps two at the most. The combination of a sore bottom and the embarrassment of it all kept us well-behaved, productive and responsible for our actions.

Contributor: Peter

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