I thought I would write and tell you about a spanking I kind of partially witnessed, some years back now, when I went round to a neighbour’s house.
Audrey, the mother, and I knew each other only through casual greetings but we didn’t usually socialise. The family were big churchgoers (which I certainly wasn’t) and we didn’t really have that much in common. My own children were long grown and gone, while Audrey had two little ones – Sarah, aged nine, and six-year-old Peter.
However, one night I had cause to call at their house. I was in the process of getting up a petition against a planned big housing development in our locality and needed as many signatures as I could get. Audrey readily agreed to sign but also invited me in for a coffee. As I had already visited many other houses and was quite tired by then, I gratefully accepted and followed her indoors.
It was around six o’clock when I called and it was just on the children’s dinner time – Audrey explained that her husband was working late so they would have dinner together later. She put a plate down in front of both the kids – pizza and salad – but while Sarah began to wolf down her food, Peter shoved his listlessly around the plate, took a couple of bites, then said: “Mommy, may I get down? I’m done.”
Audrey asked:”What’s the matter, honey? It’s not like you to not want your food. Do you feel sick?” “A little, I guess.” “Go up to your room and have half an hour on your bed. I’ll save this for you for later if you want it then.”
Peter did as suggested and his mom looked a little concerned as he went upstairs. Then she got back to coffee-making and handed me a very welcome mug. We chatted in a desultory kind of way for a few minutes, then Sarah piped up: “Peter didn’t want his dinner because he had a candy bar.”
“What?” Audrey cried. “Are you telling me the truth, Sarah?” “Yes ma’am,” the girl replied. “I saw him sneak the wrapper into his pocket just before we came downstairs.”
Audrey opened a cupboard and sure enough, an otherwise pristine multipack of candy had been torn open by inexpert little hands. A black cloud came over her and she said: “Excuse me for a moment, Barbara – there’s a little chore I have to attend to here.”
She marched straight upstairs, and although I couldn’t make out the words, there was no doubt of the import of what was being said. Audrey was doing a fair amount of shouting. Presently a door opened upstairs and the pair of them came back down, Peter being propelled forward from behind by his mom.
Just off the kitchen was a windowless utility area which just had the family washing machine and tumble drier in it. Audrey pushed Peter into this small room, then went back across the kitchen and reached up to the top of one of the wall cupboards. When her hand came back down she was holding up a thin switch, about two and a half feet long. “I will not tolerate lying in this house,” Audrey muttered as she passed by with the rod.
Looking toward the door of the utility room, I saw that without any bidding Peter had pulled down his shorts and undies and was bending over obediently with his hands on his knees, his little bare bottom sticking out ready to be dealt with.
Audrey went inside with the switch and closed the door. Almost immediately there was the sound of bitter, full-on crying from the boy in the next room as his mommy whipped his bottom for him. While I had certainly spanked my children growing up, I had never contemplated using anything as harsh as a switch but this seemed to be the accepted pattern of punishment in this home. Sarah got on with her meal, almost oblivious to the cries of pain coming from behind the closed door.
Presently, the door burst open again and Audrey came out, now quite red-faced, and replaced the switch on top of the cupboard. Peter followed her, desperately rubbing his now very sore bottom through the seat of his repositioned shorts.
“Now, you get to bed for real this time, mister!” his mother shouted as he retreated up the stairs in haste and in tears.
As if nothing had happened, Audrey picked up our conversation where we had left off but I was by now rather embarrassed and made my excuses, as I still had plenty of other houses to visit that day.
I have never forgotten that day, seeing that little boy bare his bottom so obediently, and the swiftness of the painful retribution which followed his sin.