My parents came of age in the 1960s and both could accurately be described as Kennedy Democrats. My mom was a classroom teacher for several years and my dad was in a trade union.
While they gravitated toward liberal points of view on many things, parental discipline was not one of them. There, they were decidedly old fashioned. Dr Spock had no standing in our house. Spanking was a first response remedy for disobedience, disrespect and lying.
I am the oldest of four, with a sister two years younger and brothers five and eight years younger. All of us were spanked into our mid-teens. At the time of this story, I was 16 and a half.
At this point, I had a boyfriend. I was not allowed to actually start dating until I turned 15 but I had been clandestinely seeing this boy since the summer between eighth and ninth grade. He was a year ahead of me in school but we had mutual friends.
In summer, someone’s house was usually empty during the day, so kids would congregate there and often boys and girls would pair up for make-out sessions. That’s where I met my boyfriend.
In the course of sneaking around to see him, I was caught a couple of times lying about where I was or said I was going to be. I actually lied and said I had been at parties instead of fessing up that I was with a boy, because I knew if my parents found out I would not be allowed to see him ever. My deceit on those occasions earned me a dose of the strap, in addition to the paddlings I got.
By the time this story took place, I was openly dating my boyfriend, with my parents’ grudging approval. My mom was not making it easy, however. There were a lot of restrictions and interference to try to minimise the time we were together. We got into several disagreements about this, which often ended with me getting grounded or put on restriction for my ‘attitude’.
Things boiled over one day in May toward the end of my sophomore year in high school. I was on the swim team and though our season was over, we still practiced after school three days a week. I had made plans with my boyfriend to see him after I went home and changed, then we were going to go to dinner.
When I got home, I told my mother I would not be staying for dinner, that I was headed out as soon as I changed. She told me that no, I could not go out until my homework was done and that she wanted me to eat with the family.
I told her I did not have any homework, since it was near the end of the year. And I told her that there was no reason I needed to be at dinner; in fact, my father wouldn’t be there either because he played softball that night.
My sister and brothers were all at the kitchen table doing homework – a rule of my mom’s, homework first before anything else. Our argument escalated and I accused her of just trying to keep me in the house. I got a warning about my ‘attitude’ and I told her that what she was doing was ‘bullshit’. That was the magic line I had just crossed. Mom just glared back at me with her arms folded.
She accused me of trying to ‘defy’ her, and told me: “As long as you live under this roof, you follow the rules and do as you’re told. Go upstairs and get the hairbrush.”
I glared back at her. I told her that was ridiculous – I would not be treated like a child. She was being completely unfair.
Mom didn’t reply – she just continued to stare at me with arms folded. In our test of wills, I blinked first. “Fine!” I yelled. I turned on my heel and stormed up the stairs to the closet where the spanking tools were kept, making sure to slam its door. I stomped back to the kitchen, where I found Mom sitting in a wooden chair. I thrust the brush at her.
She it and pointed to the pink terry cloth shorts I wore home after swim practice. From many years of experience, I knew this meant to take down my shorts and panties. Every spanking given in our house was given on bare bottom.
This moment was always the worst part of the experience for me as I got older. I could endure a pretty good spanking and I was not a crier. I was (and am) prone to being stubborn and I never wanted to give Mom the satisfaction of tears. But while physical discomfort was manageable, the indignity of standing there with pants and undies down on display was excruciating.
My sister had seen me in various stages of undress for years (we shared a room) and had even been spanked with me a few times.
My brothers, on the other hand, had been quite young the last time I had earned one of these ‘public’ spankings. The older of the two was now around 11 and very much at the age where he knew girls and boys were different. He and my younger brother were up on their knees leaning over on the table, saucer eyes locked on my mid-section and the landing strip patch of dark pubic hair that I shaved that way so it would not stick out of my swimsuit.
Mom’s ritual was to lecture us while we stood there pants down and exposed. I was not too old to be spanked. I was expected to follow their rules. If I insisted acting like a child I would be treated like one. Blah blah blah.
This went on for an eternity – well, maybe like two minutes, but it seemed longer standing there, hands at my sides. Finally, Mom was done and she motioned with the brush for me to get over her lap. I climbed over, palms and toes on the floor, bottom propped up on her right thigh.
I felt the brush rub on my bare bum, then lift off, and then whap! Once the spanking started, mom kept the talking to a minimum. The only sound was from me counting out loud the number of swats, as she required of us.
There were two or three beats after that, then another whap! Mom did not have a set pattern for the swats – sometimes alternating sides, sometimes applying two or three to each side, then switching.
She provided thorough coverage, top to bottom, with the occasional wicked swat reserved for the tops of the thighs, which elicited a loud grunt or ‘ouch!’ from me, and an involuntary scissor-kick from one of my legs.
Mom usually spanked in groups of 12, and when the 24th swat was counted, I hoped we were done – but the 25th fell shortly afterwards, in the same measured cadence. When we got to 36, Mom said: “I would have stopped here if not for all that fuss you made.” Then there was another whack, followed by 11 more, for 48 in total.
I was told to get up. My back porch was definitely on fire and I reflexively rubbed my stinging bottom and did a little hop, forgetting briefly that I was on full display to my gobstruck siblings.
My mother pointed to the empty corner in the kitchen. I trudged to the corner and stuck my nose in and put hands at sides, as required. To add to my indignity my shorts and panties had come off at some point during the proceedings and I was naked from the waist down except for the crew socks I was wearing.
I was glad to be facing the corner so that my tears were not visible – not tears from the physical part of the spanking, but from anger at the unfairness and the humiliation that I felt.
To make matters worse, about 15 minutes into my exile I heard my dad come in. The softball game had been cancelled. He must have given my mother a quizzical look when he encountered me in the corner with my flaming red bottom on display. “She needed to have her attitude adjusted,” was all Mom said. I sensed dad giving a shrug and then I heard a beer can pop open and he went to the living room.
About 15 minutes after that, I was told to come out of the corner and set the table for dinner. I glumly retrieved my panties and shorts from the floor and performed this chore. I did end up eating dinner at home, sitting uncomfortably on one of the wooden kitchen chairs, chastened and embarrassed that everyone had seen me – a young woman – having her bare fanny tanned like a little girl.
I carried two pronounced dark red blotches on my rear end to school the next day. I skipped swim practice because there was no way the marks wouldn’t peek out from my swimsuit.
My mom picked me up from school and we went for coffee. We had a very open and candid conversation, which helped clear the air. From that moment on, she did begin to treat me more on adult terms and accepted that I was at an age where I could start making my own choices – but she wanted to let me know she would always be my mother.
Shortly after that conversation, she took me for birth control because she wanted to be sure I was being careful in the choices I might be making.
By the way, I did see my boyfriend – who is now my husband – that night after my spanking. By this point, he was quite familiar with my rear end but he marvelled when he saw the handiwork from the hairbrush. I told him: “See the price I pay to be with you?” He very nicely provided me with a lot of TLC!