I think I would be about six, in my second year of primary school in the UK, and this was the mid-70s. As I mentioned in an earlier story on your website, I was a rather timid little boy, and generally very good for his mummy and obedient to other adults in authority over me.
So the only time I was ever sent to the headmistress, Miss Atkinson, was to receive praise rather than punishment. I had got all my maths questions right that morning and my class teacher said to me: “I want you to go to Miss Atkinson’s office at break time and show her this good work you’ve done. I’m sure she’ll be very pleased with your progress.”
So when the bell rang, I picked up my exercise book and dutifully went down the corridor to the head’s office. Mrs Whiting, her secretary, greeted me. She smiled when I told her why I was there. “We only usually get naughty boys here, you know,” she said. “I’ll have to ask you to wait, though, because Miss Atkinson has to see someone else first.”
The ‘someone else’ turned out to be a first year boy I knew slightly called Justin. Mrs Whiting greeted him rather more sombrely and told him to take a seat. He sat down next to me, looking very nervous and apprehensive, and I think he would have spoken to me but at that moment the head’s door opened and Miss Atkinson appeared.
“Right, Justin, let’s get you in here first, please,” she said. The boy followed her into the office and the door was firmly shut behind them.
For a while I heard a muffled conversation between Justin and Miss Atkinson behind the door, but I couldn’t make out what was being said. And then…
From behind the door came the unmistakeable sound of a jolly good smacked bottom being administered. From what I know now, I’m pretty sure Justin was getting it on his bare bum, too – the sound of the slaps was too ‘sharp’ for it to be otherwise.
As I have mentioned before, although I was never smacked, there was a big part of me fascinated by the act of corporal punishment and I listened to the duet of slaps and crying coming from the head’s office with a certain amount of envy. I imagined Justin over Miss Atkinson’s knee, his shorts and pants at his ankles and his bare bottom getting redder by the minute from the discipline being meted out behind the closed door.
Eventually the smacking stopped – although the crying didn’t – and after a few minutes more, Justin bolted out of Miss Atkinson’s office, his face crumpled and stain with tears and rubbing his sore bottom through the seat of his shorts.
Miss Atkinson, the sternness completely banished from her face, then came to the door and invited me to come in to the office. She looked in my exercise book and pleasure spread across her face as she examined my work and my teacher’s comments written below.
“Well done!” she beamed. “That’s just the kind of thing I want to see children in my office for!” She added some comments of her own in my maths book, then took a packet of gold stars from her desk. As she stuck one down in my book, I noticed that the palm of her right hand was much redder than the left, confirming what I had already heard – she had give Justin a damn good smacked bottom.
Needless to say, my parents were delighted to see the comments and gold star in my book that night – but there was a big part of me that would have willing changed places with Justin, to have my pants put down and my bare bottom soundly smacked by Miss Atkinson.