Kids today don’t know they’re born – I grew up in Ireland during the 1970s, when no mother had any trouble in smacking bottoms when their children misbehaved!
At our house, we had what Mum called the Naughty Box – this was big plastic Tupperware-like container which lived in the wardrobe of my parents’ bedroom. Quite often, it was used as just a threat – the question ‘do we have to take a look in the Naughty Box, Eamon?” would often be enough to stop my misbehaviour in its tracks and cause me to shape up.
The Naughty Box contained several implements which Mum used for spanking my sister and I. There was a 12in wooden ruler – this was mostly used on us when we were very young, and often on the hand for speed and convenience. Mum would order us to ‘hold out your hand’, then she’d grab your wrist firmly and administer some stinging smacks to your palm. If we had been really naughty, the ruler could also be used on our bottoms – Mum would take down our underpants while she sat on her bed, then hold us close to her while she whacked us with it.
Another item in the Naughty Box was a wooden spoon – a rather old, stained affair with a broad head that packed a real sting. Like everything else in the Naughty Box, the spoon was only used on bottoms – I would have my shorts and pants taken down, my sister her skirt raised and knickers lowered, then we would be held with our faces in Mum’s bosom as we took our punishment and had a damn good cry.
A step up from the spoon was a wooden spatula – this was heavier, stung more and was generally used on us when we got a little older, maybe around eight or so upwards. We sometimes got the spatula standing up, but by then Mum generally favoured the traditional over-the-knee position – the spatula hurt a lot more than the spoon and I guess putting us across her lap allowed her to control us more easily as she punished us.
The most fearsome (and feared) weapon in the Naughty Box was an old ebony hairbrush which our granny had used on Mum when she was a little girl. The dense, heavy oval head made it easy to give a spanking which would soon have the toughest child crying their heart out. You certainly knew you had been ‘done’ after the hairbrush came out of that box – you really would have trouble sitting!
The hairbrush was reserved for really serious things, like stealing or lying. The very worst time I remember was when we got done together by Mum when we were caught ringing doorbells and running away. I can still vividly remember the sight of my sister’s arse getting redder and redder as Mum tanned her and I waited for my turn. All I can remember of my own punishment is screaming at the top of my lungs throughout. We were both also soundly humiliated by having our bottoms bared in front of each other.
I don’t know what happened to the Naughty Box and its contents. When I was about 20-something and visiting back from university, I remember sneaking into my parents’ room one evening when I went to the toilet. I opened the wardrobe quietly but the Naughty Box, and all its contents that caused so many tears and sore bottoms in our house, had gone.