I am a child of the 60s, and so not surprisingly when I was a naughty little boy, my mother had little compunction about baring my bottom and putting me over her knee for a good, sound smacking.
Spankings began at around three or four years old, and over the next few years my mother’s lap and I became very well acquainted. I was always left with a smarting, red bottom and I learned some important lessons – so much so, that by the time I turned eight years old, corporal punishment had pretty much become obsolete in our house.
I was quite a compliant child and I actually enjoyed being a good boy for my mum, so I think that played a big part in the tailing-off (pardon the pun) of such punishments. Of course, I continued to need occasional correction, but this was done mostly in the form of stopping my pocket money or being kept in – ‘grounded’, as the kids say now.
However, when I was 12, I got caught stealing a bar of chocolate from my local sweet shop. Thankfully, it was a small, family-run concern. If it had been a big chain, no doubt the police would have been called. Instead, Mrs Jackson, one of the two ladies who ran the shop, made me tell her where I lived and promptly escorted me back home.
Mum answered the door, and Mrs Jackson told her why she was there. My mother was absolutely furious. “You’d better both come inside,” she said. She led the way into the lounge, where she invited the shopkeeper to take a seat. I was ordered to remain standing.
“Well, Peter,” mum said quietly, “have you anything to say for yourself?” I hung my head in shame. “I’m really sorry, Mum.” “Well, I think it’s Mrs Jackson you should be saying sorry to, isn’t it?” I nodded and turned around and gave a second, blushing apology.
Then Mum said: “That’s all very well, but sorry’s not good enough in this case, my lad!” She turned to her guest: “I really don’t know what’s got into him lately, he’s usually such a good boy. Do you know, Mrs Jackson, he hasn’t had his bottom smacked since he was seven? But I think it’s high time I started again.”
I began to cry, and Mum turned on me furiously. “Don’t you dare start blarting! I’ll give you something to cry about all right in a moment. Wait there!”
Through my tears, I could see a look of grim satisfaction on Mrs Jackson’s face, and within a minute Mum returned. She was carrying a dining room chair and one of my father’s leather-soled slippers. She placed the chair to face Mrs Jackson and sat down on it. “Come here to me,” she told me.
I obeyed and to my horror, Mum’s hands went to the waistband of my trousers. “No, mum, no, please! Not in front of Mrs Jackson!” Mum simply took no notice, and began to undo my belt and unbutton my trousers. “Don’t be silly, Peter – I’m sure Mrs Jackson has seen a little boy’s bare bottom before now?” “Indeed I have,” the shopkeeper replied, “I give all my children the belt when they need it, and it’s always pants down in our house. It’s got to hurt, I’m afraid.”
By the time she’d finished piling on the embarrassment with this pretty little speech, Mum had unzipped and lowered my trousers and made short work of my underpants. Before I knew it, I was staring at the carpet and felt Mum’s cool hand on bare bottom as she got me properly into position.
Then the slipper was put to work. I had entirely forgotten how much it hurt, even on a bottom now seven years older than when it had last been applied. I got the thrashing of my life with that slipper – all over my bum, and halfway down the backs of my thighs too. There wasn’t an inch of that area which wasn’t the colour of a ripe tomato.
The sting and burn, as Mum finally allowed me up off her lap, was incredible. I was in such a mess of tears and confusion by now that I no longer cared – indeed, wasn’t really aware until later – that Mrs Jackson now had a grandstand view of my willy as I stood there being lectured, trousers and pants still around my ankles.
The final ignominy was being put in the corner, smacked bottom on show for anyone to see, while my mum got Mrs Jackson a cup of tea and they had a nice, cosy chat about disciplining children. When she left, I was sent straight to bed with no supper.
After that incident, my mother began to be stricter with me again and there were several more doses of the slipper for me over the next couple of years. I certainly learned that particular lesson very well, and it was almost a year before I dared show my face again in Mrs Jackson’s shop.