Growing up, I was certainly smacked but never beaten. To be fair, 99% of these punishments were fully justified – I was a little rascal at times!
Mum did most (if not all) of the smacking but looking back, it was all a bit half hearted. However, one particular occasion springs to mind where mum did smack my bottom with a little more enthusiasm than normal.
We were on holiday. My own family, plus my aunt, uncle and my cousin William, were staying on a farm – if memory serves, we shared a converted barn. At the time, William was nine and I was seven pushing eight. We were pretty good mates and loved exploring the farm and surrounding area, as boys do.
Behind our barn was a rickety old fence, some old wooden barrels and other assorted farm junk. Hanging over the fence – and just out of reach – was a plum tree. The plums that fell were delicious, but William and I decided to pick some from the overhanging branches.
We cobbled together a few bits of the junk and William managed to stand on the top of the fence, precariously balanced. only holding on to one of the branches. Just as I reached the top of the fence, it gave way and down we both tumbled. I grazed my shins pretty well, both my palms were grazed and I had a couple of splinters.
William, however, had bigger problems. He had landed on his feet but unfortunately one of them managed to disturb a wasps’ nest!
William howled and began to dance about like a boy possessed, and he was stung several times on his foot and leg. As I scrabbled to my feet, I was stung on my arm and neck. With all the commotion our parents came running, and dragged us both to relative safety. I seem to recall my uncle and dad getting stung, but not my aunt or mum.
When we had both calmed down a bit, my aunt demanded to know what we were up to. My dad and uncle, meanwhile, seemed more concerned with how much the fence repairs were going to cost!
William and I were hopping about, suffering from our stings and injuries, when things suddenly got more serious, My aunt announced that William was going to get a ‘good hiding’. She grabbed him and marched him briskly towards the barn where we were staying. My mum followed her lead and took my arm, leading me into the house to be punished too.
Now, most of the smackings that I received from Mum as a boy up to that point had been given standing up. She would usually hold me under her arm, then reach around behind me and smack the backs my legs several times. It was all over and done with fairly quickly. My legs stung a bit, I was scolded, and that was that.
This particular punishment began as normal – a few brisk smacks to the backs of my legs just below the shorts. When we arrived back inside, Mum took me to the bathroom. She found some awful liquid (TCP, I think) and applied it liberally to my grazed shins. It stung as much as the wasps had, and I howled.
Then she slapped the back of my legs again, telling me off for being so stupid, what was I thinking etc. It seems surreal now to think that Mum was simultaneously treating my wounds and inflicting smacks to the backs of my legs!
My palms were checked next and the stinging liquid was applied there too. Mum found some tweezers and removed the most obvious of the splinters. More smacks to my legs followed and by now I was crying openly and loudly from the assault on my young body.
Then, from the other room, the sound of William’s own tears and pleas reached my ears. He was being spanked soundly by his mum, that was certain. Whether this had an effect on my own mum or not I can’t say, but once my wounds had been treated, she did something she had never done before up to that point.
Mum took me by the arm and took me to my bedroom. Once there, she removed my shorts and underpants. Then she sat on a corner of the bed and put me across her knee.
With my cousin’s wailing from across the landing getting more and more desperate as his spanking continued, Mum began to smack my own bare bottom with considerable force, speed and gusto. It was the soundest spanking of my short life thus far.
In no time at all my cries matched my cousin’s, and with burning shins, palms and wasp stings as well as a smacked bum to contend with, I cried like I had never done before.
I flopped, the fight lost, and shook my head slowly side to side as Mum spanked my bare little bottom thoroughly. My buttocks burned and now throbbed far more than any of my other injuries, and by the time mum decided to release me, a more miserable specimen of a little boy would have been hard to find.
Having spanked me soundly, she then checked my various wounds, showing great concern for the lack of skin on my shins – then gave me a few whacks to the backs of my legs for good measure and left me to wallow in my misery.
I later discovered that William had been bent over the end of his bed and his mum had bared his bottom and slippered him without mercy. She ignored his wasp stings and (in William’s own words) soon made his bottom hurt far worse and for longer than all of those wasps put together!
We licked our wounds together throughout that evening and the next day. Sitting and lying down were almost impossible, standing was just about bearable. I had trouble sleeping that night as my legs, buttocks and palms burned like extreme sunburn. I think it was at least three days before we felt up to exploring the farmyard again. We were made to apologise to the owners for breaking their fence and our dads paid for the damage.
The day we left the farm, the owner gave us a big bag of plums to take home. They were delicious, but even now every time I see a plum, I remember that holiday and the sore bottom the fruit cost me.