This is a memory from when I was four. My mother was talking on the telephone with a friend. She was in the upstairs telephone room, at the opposite end of the house from the nursery, and nanny was with my brother Jeff, then three.
Jeff was getting up from his nap. I too had been asleep and wanted to talk to my mother about something. She put her hand over the receiver and told me that I would have to wait, for she was talking with someone. I was not happy about that. Whatever it was I needed to ask her, I didn’t feel I could wait, so I tried again.
This time mother excused herself from the phone and squatted down to speak to me. She told me to go ask nanny, and added that she would be off the phone as soon as possible. She went back into the telephone room and closed the door.
I was furious. I stomped my feet on the hall carpet and when that did no good, I kicked the door. I did it again, and then again. I heard my mother hang up the phone and open the door.
She took my hand and walked me briskly to her bedroom (next door to the telephone room). She stood me up on the mahogany cedar chest that was at the foot of the bed and shook her finger at my nose. I got a lecture about how temper tantrums were for two-year-olds, and about interrupting and rudeness.
Then mother lifted my jumper and pulled my panties down to my ankles. I sensed what was about to happen and started to cry. Mother told me that this was for my naughty behaviour. She took me to the chair near the bed, placed me over her lap and began to spank my bare bottom again and again. I knew she was really angry.
As quickly as it had started, it was over. I was dressed and sent back to the nursery to stay there until tea – but I was told that I could come for cinnamon toast and tea at four o’clock as usual. I felt things were completed, but I have never forgotten that telephone episode.