By the time we were in the fifth grade, we were taught music in a very formal way in the private school I attended.
I recall sitting through class after class, where we had to listen as the music teacher, with legs like the piano’s, played pieces for us and then did lengthy explanations and commentaries. We had exams on these presentations, and most of us were music students, so it was important to pay attention.
Not today – Jane and Barbara were sitting next to each other, and we were all looking around instead of paying attention. The teacher was playing away with great enthusiasm, missing what was about to be trouble.
Both girls began to sneeze – real ones, not faked at all. Out came their handkerchiefs, but I noticed that they were giggling as they did all this. The girls around them were starting to laugh.
I then realised what they were doing. They had taken hairpins and were tickling up inside their noses to cause them to sneeze. I thought that was a great idea – anything to break up this dreadful boredom. Maybe we could even sneeze in a rhythm of some type?
I reached up and pulled a hair pin from my hair. We wore our braids up at that time – a transition from braids to long hair worn up. A few had short hair, so they would miss out on the fun that day.
I started the same thing and we had stereo sneezes in a very short period of time. Everyone was laughing by now, and the teacher stopped and stood up severely.
“What is going on here?” she demanded. “Nothing, we are just having some trouble with sneezing,” was the reply generally. “Stop it now!” was the demand, but the pin had done its work, and I could not stop, although I wanted to. How did the others get back under control so quickly?
Mrs Burnside came to me (I was in the front row next to the piano), and she pulled me up out of my seat, still sneezing away. I was blowing my nose, but nothing helped. “I’ll get you to stop!” she said sharply.
There was a low table with a stack of sheet music piled on it. Mrs Burnside removed the pile to the top of the piano and then returned to me. She placed me head down over the low table and lifted my kilt and slip. Then she took the pointer that she used on the board and told the class that we were the worst group she had ever taught.
She said that she was about to deal with us more harshly and we better get used to it. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Here I was in a class with fellow musicians (all girls, fortunately) and I was about to be spanked. This had never happened in this class before, as long as any of us could recall.
Mrs Burnside tapped the pointer on the palm of her hand as she spoke, and I just prayed that it would be over soon and not too bad. She was still talking to the class with her back to me when I sneezed again.
That did it! Mrs Burnside whirled around and began to spank my bottom with the pointer. Wow, that hurt! It wasn’t like a ruler or nanny’s ‘spanking stick’. This was very thin and firm.
I sneezed again – can you believe it – and because I was crying and out of control, I did not catch the sneeze in my handkerchief. Mrs Burnside was furious now. She took my handkerchief, put it under my nose and placed one of my hands under it to catch anything in the future.
Then, because she was so angry, she returned to the spanking, but this time she pulled my panties down to just below my bottom. She stood between me and the class, and they told me later that they could not see anything.
The pointer struck my bare bottom about six times, then Mrs Burnside pulled my panties back up. She stood me up and sent me out in the hall to stand facing the wall until class was over.
I was glad I didn’t have to sit for the rest of that class – and that the sneezing was over.