We were not allowed to play baseball in our yard, for the windows of the house were made of leaded glass, partitioned in diamond shapes. The house had been built in 1850, so things were delicate.
My father had said that gentle wiffle ball was OK over by the large bushes along the fence, but under no circumstances could the game be played near the house. That was fair, but difficult to do. We weren’t that good at it.
One day, when I was nine and Jeff was eight, Nanny was reading in her lawn chair and Jeff and I were in summer outfits, playing wiffle ball near the bushes. Nanny kept one eye out and kept telling us to move back, for we were going to strike the house.
We’d move back but then we’d drift towards the house again. Again and again, Nanny would warn us: “If you hit the house, you will be punished. Do you understand that? Your father told you not to hit the house. Now, move over there or put the game away.”
Jeff was pitching, and I was at bat. I swung and missed. How could I miss? I was good at this. Strike two! No – that can’t be! I can get this one! I moved away from the bushes just slightly to allow me to have a full swing, and I connected with the ball with a loud crack.
The ball sailed past nanny and tore right through one of the vestibule windows, smashing the lead, along with the glass. In a flash, Nanny was out of her chair, book falling to the ground. “Oh, my heavens! Look what has happened!” Suzanne, our maid, had been in the front hall vacuuming when the ball came past her. It fell on to the carpet and just stopped dead there.
My mother heard the crash, as did the butler and the cook. Everyone came to see what had happened. Jeff was white as a ghost. It felt sort of funny to me but I also was truly frightened, because I knew I’d be punished. There was not enough money in my piggy bank to cover this, even though I offered to pay for it. Folks just glared at me.
My mother sent me up to my room. I kicked around in there for a while, thinking that it wasn’t fair. It was only an accident and everyone was overreacting. But mother came in.
“I am sorry that your father isn’t here to deal with you. I have to take over now. You know he said that you would be punished if you hit the house. You did much more than that, Gigi, for we will have to bring out a lead glass expert to rebuild that part of the vestibule window. Do you understand this?” I nodded soberly.
“I am going to have to whip you, Gigi.” “Mama, what is ‘whip’?” “That means I will have to spank you with something other than my hand. This will have to hurt you, because you simply and clearly disobeyed, in spite of repeated warnings from Nanny.
“I spanked Jeff a few minutes ago with my hand in the library. He has a mighty sore little bottom, but I know and you know that this is really your fault. You could have changed the game and you didn’t.”
“Please, mama, I really think this was an accident. I would never have batted that ball through the window on purpose. I am so sorry. I’ll even pay for it.”
Nothing I said made a bit of difference. Mama put pillows at the foot of the bed, pulled down my shorts and panties and made me step out of them, then placed me over the pillows with my buttocks high in the air. She placed her hands on both of my hips to adjust me just the way she wanted me to be.
I was already crying, because I knew she meant business, so I grabbed my quilt and pulled it around my face to comfort myself and muffle my screams. I hardly dared look but I couldn’t understand what was taking mama so long.
I peeked around and saw her fumbling through my dresser. “Where is Nanny’s spanking stick, Gigi?” “I don’t know” What a relief – she can’t find it! My bottom was still high in the air, and I could feel myself tensing in anticipation.
“You stay right here, young lady. Don’t you move – I’ll be right back.” Off she went and I was alone. I have no idea how long she was gone but when she returned, she had a small wide strap with her. It was one of the ones we used to wrap around the suitcases when we travelled. Now I realised that it was going to be wrapped around my bare buttocks.
Without another word, mother began to strap me. I wanted her to put my panties back on and I begged her to do so but she didn’t say anything and kept spanking me. It hurt so much that I just started screaming into the quilt that I had scrunched up around my face.
Part of it was rage, for I was really angry at her for doing this to me. Part of it was pain, and the pain part was winning rapidly. All of a sudden she stopped. She pulled me from the bed and wiped my nose with a handkerchief.
I was a mess. I kept rubbing my sore bottom and crying. Then mother took me over her knees and told me that she was very angry. She said that I had been fresh and defiant recently and she was going to see to it that this whole business stopped.
I could hardly believe it but she started to spank me with her hand, again and again, right where the strap had been. When she was finished, and I was a sobbing heap, Mother put me face down on the bed and left me there for a few minutes, naked from the waist down.
When she returned, I clutched my buttocks together in readiness for another onslaught but instead she gently rubbed in some hand cream. It was cool and soothing.
“Nanny is very angry but she won’t spank you, because I have already done so. Daddy will be extremely upset when he learns of this, so I can’t promise you refuge from his anger, but I think we can put this behind us now.”
I certainly knew what was on my behind, that’s for sure!