I grew up in Ohio in the 80s and by the age of 11, my best friend and I had grown curious about being cool like our fathers, both of whom smoked cigarettes and loosely knew each other from work. We had begun sneaking butts from our fathers’ ashtrays and saving them for when we could meet up.
My mother had recently started nursing school and my father was at work at one of his various jobs on a Saturday afternoon to help get her through the course. My friend Mark and I were at my house in my third floor attic bedroom, doing whatever 11-year-olds did at that time.
My younger brother and sister were not home – I don’t remember why. Mark and I decided that since my mom was on the first floor in the living room, studying her nursing books, there was no way she’d know if we lit up a few butts and smoked these cigarettes and act as cool as we were. I’d come to find out this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life up to that point.
It was summer, so there was a fan in the window, but it wasn’t uncomfortably hot that day. I remember we had smoked a few butts, playing video games and listening to rock ‘n roll on the stereo.
Suddenly, from the background noise of music, video game noises and the fan blowing, my mother’s voice appeared at the bottom of the two flights of stairs to my bedroom.
“Daniel, are you guys smoking up there?” We stopped what we were doing in complete shock and stared at each other, completely aghast that we had most likely been caught.
We sat there silently for a second or two, and then I responded: “No mom, of course not.” “Well, what’s that smell, then?” Mom knew darn well what was going on as my dad smoked, and I was absolutely dumbfounded as I’d never considered this outcome.
I was speechless. Mark and I sat in silence, as I had no answer to her question of what that smell was. The next thing I knew, I heard her dreaded footsteps pounding up the stairs, which only took 10 seconds or so to climb both short flights.
The room was an open layout, so at the top of the stairs she was staring at my entire room. There it was – the ashtray with about five or six cigarette butts in it.
“So you’re both smoking now, huh?” was the first thing out of her mouth. We thought we were so tough, but couldn’t even talk. Mom calmly walked over to Mark and said: “Go downstairs and call your father – it’s time to go home.”
Mark jumped up faster than I’ve ever seen him and ran down the stairs. He called his father, who nsaid he would be there to pick him up in about 20 minutes.
When Mark came back up to tell my mom that his dad was on his way, my mom had brought up some of her nursing textbooks to show us the dangers of smoking, and the dangers of fires caused by smoking. It was a lecture I will never forget.
We heard Mark’s dad pull up in our driveway, and Mark started down the stairs. Mom told me: “You don’t go anywhere – you and I aren’t done yet, mister. You’re gonna be very sorry when I get back.” She was almost growling and my stomach was starting to sink.
I had been spanked in my younger years, and mom frequently threatened it but it was getting increasingly rarer and shorter if she did spank me. This day, it hadn’t even entered my mind up until the point she grabbed my arm and said those words in my ear. Up until that point, I had expected grounding and extra chores.
Mom went downstairs and handed Mark over to his dad, briefly explaining what had happened. I sat watching from the attic window overlooking the driveway, so I knew she’d be on her way back to my room. When I heard her steps pounding back up the stairs, I knew she was on some kind of mission.
When she got back up to my room, I’m honestly not sure she had made up her mind how she wanted to handle this yet. As she was the disciplinarian of the house, and my sister and brother were gone, and my much more passive father was working, I think it made her decision that much easier to teach me a lesson I will never forget.
She really let loose with the scolding that she was known for, and asked me how big and old and tough I thought I was for smoking cigarettes. As obviously there was no good answer, I tried pleading and just kept saying: “I’m sorry, Mom!”
She finally got tired of the apologies and said: “You know what? You need a good old fashioned spanking until your butt is beet red to teach you that you will not be smoking cigarettes in this house at 11 years old, and that you aren’t as big and bad as you think you are.” With that, I knew that my sentence was likely written and I was going to get spanked.
By this age, spankings had become more of a series of the threats we all remember from childhood. Mom’s favourites were “I’m gonna turn you over my knee” and “I’m gonna give you a good old fashioned spanking until your butt is beet red!” These threats had started to become less frequent and it had been a long time since I actually had been spanked, probably a couple of years at least. At this point, I’d heard Mom’s threats so many times that I still wasn’t sure that the spanking was going to happen.
I started pleading. “Mom, please – I’ll do chores.” “You’re damn right you’re gonna do chores – with a sore, red butt!” At that point I knew I was done for. Mom stomped back down the stairs and yelled back over her shoulder: “Don’t you go anywhere – I’ll be right back!”
To say that I had butterflies in my stomach would be an understatement. I thought I was too old for spankings. But I also knew the ‘perfect storm’ was here for Mom to teach me a lesson, with an empty house. She was gone only about 30 seconds. I heard her go into her bedroom, one floor below, and a drawer open and slam shut. Mom stomped right back up – and she was now holding a big, flat wooden hairbrush.
I was sitting on an old couch that we had put in my room for video games, and she marched immediately towards me with a purpose. She sat down next to me and threw the hairbrush on the ground.
“Daniel, get over here right now!” I knew what she meant. I stood up, Mom glared at me and started scolding me about what I’d done and how ashamed she was of me. She said she was going to teach me a lesson that I’d never forget, especially since my brother and sister weren’t there to get scared of what she was going to do.
She grabbed my wrist and whirled me to her right side. “Get over my knee right now, young man!” I remember being so ashamed and humiliated, as I hadn’t been in this position for a long time and didn’t ever think I’d be there again. Mom began swatting my upturned butt with her hand, but I still had on my basketball shorts and briefs. After about 10 to 20 smacks, I started thinking I might be off the hook, because this wasn’t so bad.
However, Mom then stood me up, looked me in the eye and said: “Now I’m gonna give you the good old fashioned, bare bottom spanking you deserve, young man!”
Mom absolutely loved scolding us as she disciplined, whether it was yelling, grounding, issuing chores or spanking. She yanked down my shorts and threw me back over her knee. What she did next told me I was really in for it. She locked me in place with her right leg, then yanked down my white briefs to my lower thighs.
My mom had spanked me a few times like this before – but like I said, it had been a long time ago. I was utterly shocked, humiliated and embarrassed to be an 11-year-old boy about to get a bare bottom spanking over his mother’s knee – I literally couldn’t believe it was happening. I remember shouting ‘no, Mom, no!’ as she took down my underwear.
Mom was a force to be reckoned with when it came to discipline and she began spanking my bare butt with her hand, all the while scolding about the dangers of smoking. She probably spanked my bare butt a good 70 or so times – she was furious.
She stopped briefly, asking me if I thought I was so big and bad now, and reached to her left to pick the hairbrush up from the floor. She then proceeded to issue about 25 additional swats to my upturned, bare and very red fanny, scolding me as she paddled me with it.
The tears were coming hard now and she finally stopped. I was stood up and asked what I had to say for myself. Through the tears, I told her: “Mom – I’m sorry!” It was the maddest I’d seen her in a long, long time.
Mom looked at me, then said: “You have five minutes to get yourself together, then I want you downstairs sweeping and mopping the basement.” I remember her leaving my room with her hairbrush. My briefs were now at my ankles and my butt was absolutely on fire. I was so embarrassed too. I remember looking in the mirror to see my red bottom and the tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe it had happened.
Talk about being put in your place – I never touched another cigarette.