This encounter took place in south east London in 1970 – it was my third of four years of junior school before moving up to secondary school. Myself and my brother (three years older than me) both had the odd smack here or there from Mum or Dad, but nothing more than that – normal family life for that time.
Before I left the infants, my brother had warned me about the headmistress on the junior side of the school. His advice was basically, never cross Mrs Watson – because Mrs Watson did not take prisoners. No child under her care had ever needed to be caned twice, and no pupil had ever lasted beyond two strokes before bursting into tears.
Frankly, I was scared witless by the warning and dreaded starting junior school. I was a mild-mannered boy, who wouldn’t have said boo to a goose, and I felt like a rabbit in the headlights.
My first sighting of Mrs Watson was at the ‘welcome day’ assembly. She did appear rather upright and austere but seemed friendly enough that day. She smiled and welcomed us as the new year intake. She religiously wore a black skirt and shoes, and a white blouse.
All went well for the first couple of years – but in the third year, I found myself in hot water. I would have been nine at the time, or possibly just turned 10.
To much fanfare, we were the first year ever to be given swimming lessons. A coach took my class to the local baths and we had our first lesson. The changing rooms were sectioned into small cubicles and I found myself in a group of five boys. Three of us were, if you like, normal boys. One boy was a bit of an idiot – a bigmouth, but harmless. The fifth boy was quiet and shy.
Now, I had nothing to do with the incident but after our lesson, the shy boy’s school shorts were found, sopping wet, in the small shower are where swimmers rinsed off before and after using the pool. The shorts were clearly in no state for the poor boy to wear on the coach back to school, so he was reduced to wearing just his underpants, albeit with a towel wrapped around him to preserve his modesty.
Children being children, of course, this made him something of a figure of fun. It didn’t help that he cried for a while, too. This all happened on a Friday afternoon.
Now, a weekend is a lifetime to a boy of nine or 10, so by Monday morning I had forgotten all about the incident. So it was a big shock when the four other pupils who had been in that boy’s cubicle – including me – were separated at morning assembly by the teachers and told to report to the headmistress’s office. At this point, I was slightly nervous. I wasn’t sure what it was all about, but my brother’s words of warning were figuratively ringing in my ears.
Rather than make up names for everyone concerned (I certainly wouldn’t want to reveal their real identities, of course), I will refer to us boys as A, B (me), C and D. We stood along the wall in silence outside the headmistresses office, wondering what we were in for.
We were called in to the office, and the first person we saw apart from Mrs Watson was the victim of Friday’s prank, and a woman I didn’t recognised who turned out to be his mother. Alarm bells began to ring in my head – this wasn’t good. My nerves jangled, my mouth went dry and my hands were cold and sweaty.
Mrs Watson stood by her desk. The victim of the prank and his mother were seated to the right of the desk. Us four boys stood facing the victim and his mother.
Mrs Watson demanded to know which boy (or boys) were responsible for the shorts ending up in the water. Not only was I was totally innocent of the outrage, I genuinely didn’t know who had committed it, so I remained silent. The other three boys followed suit.
After a moment or two, Mrs Watson spoke again. “Well, boys, I intend to find out who is responsible for this, and they will be punished. If the boy who did this owns up now and tells me that it was nothing more than a silly prank, he will suffer no more than a spanking over his shorts. He will then be made to apologise, and that will be the end of the matter.”
I was cold with fear. With my brother’s warning ringing in my ears, I ventured that I was innocent and had seen nothing. Mrs Watson looked coldly at me without reply. She could turn water to ice with that look!
Then she said: “Boys, I’m going to give you one more minute to think it over. After that, I’m going to spank each of you 20 times until I get a name. If you are still all foolish enough to remain silent after that, you will each receive three strokes of the cane. That way, I shall be sure the boy responsible has been punished, and if the rest of you are stupid enough to take a spanking and a caning for the sake of solidarity, then more fool you!”
A 20-smack spanking sounded pretty serious to me. Three strokes of the cane was unthinkable. I was rooted to the spot – what could I do? If I’d have known who was responsible, at that point I would have happily told Mrs Watson.
She decided to apply some pressure to A, who stood beside me. She placed a chair in front of her desk and sat down on it, the spoke directly to the lad. “You’re first – so if I were you I’d speak up, young man.” I didn’t know if A knew who had done it or not, but he didn’t say anything. Anyway, Mrs Watson announced that time was up.
“Come here, boy!” My guts turned and gurgled. I had never witnessed a ‘proper’ spanking like this – and, more worryingly, I was next if the lad kept quiet!
The boy was placed across Mrs Watson’s knee. “Last chance. Tell me who did it, and you won’t get spanked.” To be fair, Mrs Watson gave the boy every opportunity but her plea fell on deaf ears – and he turned out to be made of pretty stern stuff.
Mrs Watson looked up at us other three boys and said: “I will stop when I have the boy’s name. If not this will happen to each of you in turn.” She pulled the boy’s shorts up tight from the waistband and raised her hand.
Twenty hard smacks echoed around the office. There was no doubting Mrs Watson’s spanking skills – she was obviously well accustomed to warming naughty children’s bottoms. After only a few seconds, A was squirming around on her lap – it obviously stung like hell – and just as she finished boy, he began to cry. The victim’s mother wore a face of pure satisfaction – she was clearly enjoying the spectacle. Her son just looked down at his hands, and never made eye contact with any of us.
A was told to stand back up and I was ordered forwarded. I repeated that I knew nothing but was simply instructed to get myself across her knee. Well, 20 smacks from Mrs Watson hurt – a lot! I struggled to hold back the tears and protested my innocence until the end. She smacked hard and slow to start – I think it was the last five or six that stung the most because she delivered them in quick succession. I did say as I stood up that it wasn’t fair because I hadn’t done anything, but my protestation was simply ignored.
I rubbed my bottom as I took my place back in the line. Wow, she could smack hard! I had tears in my eyes, and one or two made an escape down my cheeks. I looked up at the victim’s mother – she gave me a smug, ‘serves you right look’ and I daresay she would probably have liked a turn at smacking our bottoms herself, given half a chance.
C was ordered forward and got as far as being positioned across Mrs Watson’s knee. He was given the chance to give up the name of the culprit – or prepare for a sound spanking, and an even sounder caning.
It was at this point that D caved in under the pressure, and gave up the culprit’s name. It was C, who even now lay bottom up across Mrs Watson’s knee. Meanwhile, I stood there rubbing my sore bum, desperately trying to hold back the tears. The spanking had really stung, and I was particularly upset because I was genuinely innocent.
Mrs Watson stood C up. “Speak up! Is it true that you are responsible for those shorts ending up in the water?” The boy nodded and began to cry.
The headmistress wasn’t going to let him off easily. “I want you to say the words out loud, then I want you to apologise to this lady and her son.” C managed to just about do so, though it was mostly incomprehensible mumbling through tearful sobs, probably because he knew he was about to feel the cane.
The victim’s mother turned the screw bit tighter. “Do you realise how humiliating it was for my boy to ride home in the coach with just his pants on? He got teased mercilessly!”
She gave C a real dressing down, and as she scolded him Mrs Watson appeared in the corner of my eye. She had fetched her cane from somewhere and was standing there impatiently, tapping the side of her leg with it. To my chagrin, the boy who had given up the name remained unpunished. He could have saved me the spanking that still stung like the blazes inside my shorts.
I stared at the crook-handled cane with both fascination and horror. C turned to find Mrs Watson tapping the tip of her cane on a padded stool. The boy would be sideways on to the victim and his mother – they were to get an up close and personal view of both his face and bottom.
“Bend over,” Mrs Watson instructed coldly. Whimpering now, the boy obeyed.
The headmistress turned to us remaining three boys. “Right boys, do you wish to remain to witness the caning of a coward?” A chose to stay, and because he was staying I nodded to indicate that I would too. In any case, my legs had turned to jelly and I don’t think I could have walked far right then. D left and closed the office door behind him – he couldn’t wait to leave!
Meanwhile, bent over the stool, C was a sobbing mess and apologising to no-one in particular. He was instructed to stretch forward and grip the far side rail of the stool, which had him up on tiptoe on the ‘business’ side. The boy’s shorts were as tight as shorts could go, and I could well imagine how scared he must be.
As Mrs Watson announced that he would receive four strokes, I felt my heart pound. However, I felt no sympathy for the boy because my bum was stinging because of him. What happened next had a profound effect on me for the remainder of my school days…
I had no idea what to expect. Mrs Watson rolled the boy’s jumper up and ran her hand over his bottom, presumably feeling for objects in his back pockets, or simply making sure his shorts were tight.
Standing to one side of the boy, Mrs Watson took up her position and tapped the cane on the seat of his shorts. She rocked back and forth a bit, sizing up her swing, and swished the cane through the air a couple of times. I was trembling by now, and I wasn’t the boy being beaten!
Then she placed the cane across the centre of the boy’s bottom, held it there for a moment, then said loud and clear: “Stroke one!”
The cane was drawn back and up high, and I watched without moving or breathing as it flashed down to meet C’s buttocks with every ounce of strength Mrs Watson could muster.
I was shocked to my core by the sheer severity of the stroke. I will never, ever forget the sound that cane made as it made contact, nor will the scream C emitted a second later – it was blood-curdling.
Mrs Watson waited until the boy was still again before repeating the process. Stroke two was a carbon copy – full on, as hard as she could possibly manage. The boy’s scream was even louder this time, accompanied by a rasping noise that I can’t really do justice to with words. By now, I actually wanted to run away, but I couldn’t move. It was hard to watch and yet impossible to look away.
Two more strokes followed and a dark patch appeared on the boy’s shorts as he wet himself – poetic justice, maybe? He was left writhing in pain when it as all finished. His legs were moving slowly, as if he was trying to walk, and he was sobbing uncontrollably, heaving great breaths and making all sorts of strange noises.
Mrs Watson looked down at the boy coldly and nodded approvingly to herself. She then replaced the cane and quite calmly asked the victim’s mother if she was satisfied that the boy had been punished to her satisfaction. She had, and thanked the headmistress. As she left, she glared at both us remaining boys.
The victim, A and myself were all dismissed. Mrs Watson made no apology for having spanked two innocent boys, and we three walked back to class in silence. As we left the office, the guilty boy still hung sobbing over the caning stool, his wet patch clear for all to see.
It was some time before the boy shuffled back to our classroom, with a note for our teacher. He perched on the edge of his chair, still in wet shorts, as a fresh wave of tears flowed from his red eyes. We later heard that Mrs Watson had scolded him severely for not coming forward. He was branded a coward – Mrs Watson reminded him that two innocent boys had been spanked because of him, and he should think himself lucky he didn’t get a sound spanking on top of his caning for that very reason. As I say, personally I had very little sympathy – my own bottom still stung from my unwarranted trip across Mrs Watsons knee.
When I got home, I told my parents and brother about what had happened. As I was an innocent party, I thought Mum and Dad might at least demand an apology for my spanking, but no – they just told me to learn from it, and behave myself in school. My brother simply said: “I told you so!” According to him, it was the first time Mrs Watson had administered more than three strokes of the cane to a boy not in the fourth year age group.
For those younger people that have never known such things, trust me – corporal punishment worked. The lack of it has a lot to do with the attitude of young people today. I made damn sure I never fell foul of Mrs Watson, or any other teacher after that incident. The cane was a real deterrent.
So that’s my story. D became very unpopular. After all, A and myself could have been spared a sore bottom if he’d spoken up earlier. D saved his own skin without a care for us. Not long after our visit to the headmistress, A beat up C pretty good outside of school. C never forgave D for ‘grassing’ him up. No-one held a grudge against the victim, to my knowledge. After his caning, C changed a great deal. He became very quiet and kept himself to himself. Mrs Watson, sadly, is no longer with us and her passing was met with much sadness from many of her former pupils.
Later in life, when recounting this story at a dinner party, one or two other young men agreed that the cane (or the threat of it) had kept them on the straight and narrow at school.
After that conversation, my then young wife playfully teased me more than once about smacking my bottom if I was cheeky or naughty. Then one day she followed through with the threat, after admitting she found the prospect exciting. It was a very different feeling, lying across my wife’s warm, smooth thighs having my bottom smacked – and not an unpleasant experience in any way shape or form.
We experimented some more and I smacked her bum, but my wife prefers to spank me. That is how we came across Maman. We pinch ideas and scenarios from other people’s stories and play around with them. My wife enjoys the teacher stories. I have no preference, other than I dislike severe caning or belting stories. A hand spanking for most children is plenty severe enough, in my opinion. I know – I’ve been there!
Needless to say, I much prefer lying over my wife’s knee to that of Mrs Watson – but I can never enjoy a spanking from the wife without my old headmistress making an appearance in my memory at some point!
We have recently considered purchasing a real crook-handled cane. My wife thinks it will be fun to add this extra dimension to our games. She is very turned on by the thought of walking around, swishing the cane through the air, whilst scolding her errant ‘boy’. I trust her to be gentle – but fully expect much teasing and a sound six of the best!