I’m not sure how old I was when the following took place – I’d guess eight, give or take a year. Mom was baking for some kind of bake sale so the kitchen was cluttered and full of delicious things which we could not eat.
Oh, I’m sure my sister and I got to lick various bowls and beaters, and probably got to sample cookies too. But you know how Moms are – everything good will spoil your lunch or if it’s after lunch, it’ll spoil your dinner.
I guess I got caught sampling once too often or was just too much underfoot and was shooed outside or to my room to play. My sister Kathy was still helping Mom in the kitchen, but then kitchen helping was more of a girl thing. When Mom wasn’t looking, I tried to sneak back in for one last cookie.
I reached for a cooling cookie, but I knocked a mixing bowl on to the floor. It was empty except for some water and yeast, as I recall, but it shattered with a loud crash. I think that might have been accepted as an accident, even though I’d been banished from the kitchen, but unfortunately I’d been too successful in my snatch and already had the cookie in my hand.
“Robert Mason _____!” Someone once remarked that the purpose of a middle name is so a kid will know when he’s in trouble. This was certainly true with my Mom. If she called me ‘Robert’, I was probably in trouble. If she used my full name, I knew I was really in trouble.
In any case, she started to scold me. Hadn’t I been told no more cookies? Hadn’t I been told to go outside and play? I’m sure she worked in completely irrelevant past transgressions which I’d completely put out of my mind by then as well. But the upshot of it all was, I was going to get a spanking.
Now, I’m pretty sure it was still school time, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a bake sale. It was either very late spring or very early fall, because I was barefoot and was just wearing light summer shorts. But it didn’t matter to Mom how little I had covering my bottom. As far as I can recall, it was always moved out of the way for a spanking – and this Mom did while she scolded.
On occasion Mom would scold for some time while I stood there bare bottomed. But this time as soon as my shorts and underpants were around my ankles, I was across her knees. I guess she was in a hurry to get back to her baking.
I don’t think she’d given me more than about five spanks before everything started happening at once. The phone rang and the kitchen timer chimed almost simultaneously. Mom told Kathy to get the phone, and put me on the chair while she got the cookies out of the oven.
The phone call was for Mom, of course, so after putting the cookies on the counter she went to talk on the phone. Somehow, I had a cookie in my hand – I suppose I was still holding the one I’d snatched. Just as I took a bite out of it, Mom looked over at me. “Robert, put that down right now! Go stand in the corner and wait for me.”
I’d kicked off my pants and underpants during my short spanking because there were no shoes to hold them in place. I reached over to pick them up and put them on but Mom said: “In the corner right now – just leave those! Don’t think I’ve finished with your spanking, young man.” (‘Young man’ wasn’t quite as bad as the full name but bad enough.)
Now, I had stood in many a corner both before and after spankings when I was a kid. But this was the first (and only) time Mom ever made me do that – I don’t know at the time if I thought that the person on the other end of the line had heard what Mom said. I’m sure it would have embarrassed me but it wasn’t unusual in those days for moms to talk to each other about spanking their kids.
While Mom was on the phone, however, our neighbour Mrs Kiel came over. Kathy let her in, I think, though it wouldn’t have been at unusual for her to just pop her head in and see if someone was in the kitchen – if we were home, the door would have been unlocked. I was looking over my shoulder and saw her look at me – she didn’t say anything.
Mom got off the phone and realised I was still standing there with a bare bottom. She sent me off to my room and told me to stay there. I did escape the rest of that spanking. I guess Mom thought the embarrassment was punishment enough, but boy do I remember thinking it was a lot worse!
About a week or so later, Mom wanted me to go over to Mrs Kiel’s house to borrow something. I really didn’t want to go, because I was still embarrassed. So I went out and came back and said she wasn’t home. Mom never caught me in that lie, and I don’t know what she would have done if she had. It would have been a very strange lie, so she might have figured out why or asked me (and I might have told her) and done nothing.