I was at my best friend Jason’s house when this happened. It was the late 70s, and we were nine years old. We’d spent the morning playing inside as it was raining, but what we really wanted to do was go out and play football in Jason’s back garden.
As that was off the cards, we began bouncing a tennis ball which we suddenly discovered around the house. Eventually we reached the lounge, where Jason’s mum was reading the newspaper.
“Take that thing thing away from here, boys!” she warned. “There are plenty of things which could get easily broken in here. Go and play elsewhere.” Well, we did as we were told but in our exuberance, we eventually made our way back to the lounge. There was no sign of Jason’s mum now, and we played with the ball there – until, inevitably, it gently knocked a miniature ceramic vase off the mantlepiece.
To our utter relief, the ornament landed on the lounge carpet rather than in the hearth, and there was no harm done to it. Suitably chastised, we gathered up the ball and were about to go elsewhere in the house when we saw Jason’s mum in the doorway, looking very cross with her hands on her hips.
“Yes, I saw everything that just happened, you naughty boys!” she said, as if she could read our minds – which she probably could, to be fair. “Jason, didn’t I tell you not to play in here?” She didn’t wait for an answer from her son. “You come with me, young man, and you (she pointed at me), take a seat there and listen carefully.”
With that, she grabbed Jason’s arm and led him out of the room and into the nearby kitchen. It was fully tiled and I could clearly hear the telling-off Jason’s mum was treating him to. Then I heard the scrape of a chair being drawn out across the floor, and Jason yelling: “No, mum, not on the bare, please!” “Don’t be silly, Jason,” she answered him, “you know quite well this is how it’s done. Get over there!”
Presumably this was her command for Jason to bend over her lap, as she was now seated ready to smack him. That suspicion was confirmed when, after a brief muffled protest from her son, I heard the unmistakable sound of a bare bottom being slapped. It rang out like a pistol shot and reverberated through into the lounge, almost as if mother and son were right in front of me.
Jason yelled out with the pain but then the smacking began in earnest. It was obvious from both the resounding slaps and the cries of pain coming from my friend’s mouth that this was a very thorough and hard spanking his mum was giving him. After only a few more smacks, Jason began to cry like a baby, sobbing and begging. “Please, no more! No more! I’ll be a good boy, mummy!” I’d never heard Jason call his mother anything but ‘mum’ but the context of the spanking made it seem natural somehow for him to revert to the more childish name.
The smacking seemed to go on forever, as did Jason’s crying, and I nervously wondered if I was going to be next. I didn’t really think Jason’s mum would spank me, but this was a time when corporal punishment of other people’s children certainly wasn’t unheard of.
Eventually, the slapping stopped, although the crying continued for a good few minutes afterwards. Then I heard Jason’s mum tell him: “Leave those pants down! We’re going to show your little friend what happens to naughty boys in this house. Come on!”
They re-entered the room, Jason now with his trousers and pants around his ankles. He had both hands held shyly over his privates and his face was red from crying. “Turn around and show him!” his mum barked. Jason avoided my gaze as he turned his bare bottom towards me. It was red and shiny as a cricket ball. His mother had made an excellent job of the smacking, covering nearly all of his bum as well as his thighs.
“Right – off to bed with you!” his mother yelled. Frantically pulling his trousers and pants back up, Jason fled to his room. Then his mum walked slowly and deliberately towards me – I really thought I was for it. She crouched over me and put her face so close to mine I could smell her breath.
“As for you, if you ever misbehave in my house again, I don’t care whether you’re mine or not – you’ll get your arse tanned just like he just did. Understand?” I nodded, close to tears now without a smack even being landed. “Right – get yourself home! And I don’t want to see you here for a few days – Jason won’t be coming out to play anyway.”
I don’t think I’ve ever run back home as quickly as I did that day. For the next few days, I lived in fear of Jason’s mum ringing my parents to tell them about my behaviour, and insist them smacking my own bottom. I almost wet my pants every time the phone rang. However, unlike my friend, I escaped unscathed.