Surrounding our property was a large fence, with huge pudding-stone posts every few feet. In between were black square pickets with points at the top – decorative, not sharp.
I loved to climb the fence and sit on top of the posts and look out on the world. I was able to do that by the time I was six. Nanny said I was one half monkey.
One day, after school – I was in the second grade – I went outside in the beautiful May weather and climbed up to my favourite post. I had been asked not to do this, especially in good clothes, for it did involve some risk. But I was confident that I could handle it, so up I went.
Unfortunately, just as I reached the post and was holding the edges, my foot slipped and I slid backwards. When I did, I impaled my dress on one of the pickets. There I was, sort of swinging there, hanging on to the fence and completely stuck. I cried out for help and Suzanne, our maid, saw me.
As she ran forward to release me, Nanny called to her. “No! Leave the naughty girl right there – I’ll get her down!” Suzanne curtsied to Nanny and returned to the house.
Nanny came over to me. My dress was up in the air, supporting my body, and I was clutching the pickets with both hands. Nanny simply took the elastic of my underpants and slid them down to my knees, then she applied some well-placed spanks to my bare bottom. I couldn’t move to get away or even struggle to minimise the blows. I was completely surprised, for I thought Nanny had come to help me.
“You were told that you were not to climb this fence in your good clothes. Where is your good sense, child?” With each word came another spank on my exposed bottom. Fortunately there was no-one walking by at the time, for I would have been totally mortified. This was bad enough. Usually, I was taken to privacy for a spanking.
Nanny even separated my legs a bit to get the inside of my thighs as best she could. She wanted this to hurt, and I can tell you that it did. The warm sun beat down on me, and I felt as though I were getting a terrific sunburn.
I cried and cried, trying to keep from slipping and falling from the fence. I couldn’t figure out the biggest danger – Nanny or falling. The spanking ended and Nanny pulled up my underpants. Then she helped me to get up off the picket and climb down the fence. I remember the ripped part of the dress hanging down in the back.
“Now, upstairs with you to change. You stay in your room until tea, young lady!” I had to walk by several servants, holding up my torn dress and crying. I tried to keep from touching my bottom while they were watching and as soon as I reached the top of the stairs, I ran as fast as I could to the nursery.
Once by my bed, I undressed and threw myself on to the mattress. I was in a rage! I did not understand why Nanny had got so upset. She could have talked to me about poor judgement but to spank me like that was outrageous in my opinion.
I took off my underpants to let the skin cool and lay on my bed, crying. I must have fallen asleep because when I woke up, my quilt was over me, my thumb was in my mouth and my teddy bear in my arms.
Nanny was laying out my tea clothes and Jeff was coming in and out of my room to talk to her. “What happened to Gigi?” In her soft, gentle voice, Nanny said: “Gigi got a spanking, Jeff” “Why?” “She ripped her dress on the fence. Now go back in the playroom and play until I get Gigi ready for tea.” “OK.” He was gone.
Nanny gently rubbed my forehead and gave me a gentle kiss, “”Come on now, lassie, it’s time for tea.” She pulled back my quilt and sat me up carefully. I sat there blurry-eyed. Soon I was dressed and with my hand in hers, and Jeff on the other side, we reported to the drawing room for tea, joining our parents.
Nanny was strict and wielded a sharp spank, but she also gave gentle, loving kisses and told wonderful stories. I will never forget her.