We all had the usual quick but effective smacks growing up all the way up to maybe 14. A lot of smacks would be given after bedtime – we would be told to quieten down, stop talking, get to sleep or get back in the bed .
A classic scenario was our mother coming upstairs, going into our rooms and demanding to know which of us had just been out of bed. Of course, no-one admitted it, so more often than not Mum would decide to smack the lot of us.
We would be made to lay on our tummies and pull down our pyjama bottoms, then we would each be given four or five firm smacks across our bare buttocks, followed by the threat of what would happen if she had to come up again. I should mention that if we continued talking, we would also be guaranteed an early bedtime the following night, regardless of our age.
As I got older, I actually started to enjoy at least the idea of a good hiding – and also the exposure of my bare bottom, even though I hated the reality. Sometimes, usually in bed at night, such feelings would go into overdrive, and I would get brave and try to push my luck, making a noise and thinking about the consequences should I be caught.
On one particular night, about 9pm, I had been in bed about an hour when I got very daring and on purpose dropped a book on the floor from my top bunk.
Mother came flying up the stairs to see what the racket was. Once again, faced with the imminent reality of the consequences for such misbehaviour, my heart skipped a beat as I heard her footsteps.
When Mum came in, clearly on the warpath, I instantly denied making the noise. Unbeknownst to me, my brother on the bottom bunk was fast asleep, and so were my sisters in the other room.
Mother knew I was lying and said so. She pulled back my quilt and ordered me to lower my pyjama bottoms. I obeyed enough so that I was lying on my side with just one buttock bare. Mother proceeded to hit me, and after a few swift smacks, she growled: “Now, go to sleep!”
Another incident I remember well is a hiding I created for my siblings but dodged myself. I should say that I was by far the naughtiest child in the family, and probably got more sore bottoms than any of my siblings.
My biggest problem was that I was very headstrong, which led to a lot of backchat and cheekiness, arrogance and always having to have the last word. At school, or playing out with friends, I was always the ‘class clown’ who dared to do things that my peers would not. This earned me a reputation among them but also fed my ego, no doubt making my behaviour and attitude a lot worse.
Anyway, back to the story. One Saturday around noon, when I was about 12, I was in our downstairs bathroom, probably looking for a new toilet roll I think. In my haste I accidentally knocked a load of things off a shelf – and among them was my mother’s box of Tampax.
I picked up all the other things then examined the tampons. My 12-year-old growing boy’s mind became curious so, checking the door was locked, I opened one up for further investigation. I had only a rough idea of what they were for.
I began to feel embarrassed. I knew I couldn’t put the open tampon back in the box, so I decided to hide it. In the end, I put it in the bottom of the bathroom bin, hidden under other waste, thinking no one would ever know.
I cleaned up the rest of the mess I had made, washed my hands and scarpered. The following day was a a Sunday, and that meant bath night – on all other days we had a shower before bed. All us children had bathed and were in our pyjamas, watching a bit of television before bedtime, when we heard Mother shout: “All you kids, get in here right now!”
She was in the bathroom, and as we trooped in I noticed with a knot in my stomach that she was holding the waste bin and the opened Tampax. Mother lined us all up, then said sternly: “I am going to ask you once and once only – which of you have been playing with this?”
Of course, I immediately protested my innocence, claiming to never have seen them in my life. “What are they for, anyway?” My siblings in turn all responded that it was not them. Still angry but perhaps seeing this as a teaching moment, she when into a little detail of what it was and what it was used for. She wasn’t graphic, but the explanation – that they went in a lady’s fanny – was certainly enough to embarrass us kids, certainly us boys at any rate.
At this point, my ego kicked in as I went into survival mode. I said to my brother: “Oh my God, John – I hope it’s not you – that would be well weird. Whoever has been playing with that should be ashamed.”
To my utter amazement, my ploy worked. Mum told me to go back into the living room, though the bathroom door was left open so I could still follow the conversation with no problem.
Once I had been banished, I heard Mother say: “Right – I will ask you three again, and this is your last chance – who has been playing with these?
“Wasn’t me” came the reply three times. Then came the dreaded words. “Right – get them down!” There were teary protestxs and I felt pretty smug knowing that I had both dodged a spanking and being revealed as the ‘Tampax fiddler’.
“Line up in order of age!” was the next thing I heard. This was the usual protocol when several of us children were being spanked together.
Adele, at seven, went first. I heard the smacks from Mother’s hand landing relentlessly on my little sister’s bare bum as Adele screamed and cried. Finally: “Now, get to bed!”
Adele came running out of the bathroom and up the stairs, her face wet with tears and her hands clasping her newly-smacked bottom.
Next it was Katie’s turn, and things got a lot more serious. Mother ordered my elder sister to pass her the hairbrush from the window sill and get over her knee. Katie obviously protested, but presently I heard the brush pounding down on my older sister’s arse with great intensity.
Now it was my brother John’s turn. He would have been 14 by then and beginning to develop in his pubic area, so it was doubly shaming for him to have his bare bum smacked by his mum, especially for something he knew he hadn’t done.
By now, there were not many instances of John being punished in this way so when the opportunity came around, I think Mother probably made the most of it. She smacked him much harder and longer than either of the other two children, scolding him throughout.
Even at 14, the hairbrush produced its expected results and I listen as John screamed and cried from about the third smack in. Safe to say, he got a good hiding and was also sent to bed, by which time such an order would have been a relief, if only to hide his shame.
After these three spankings, Mother came back in to the living room. She had now calmed down again and was surprisingly friendly to me – she asked if I wanted a hot chocolate. As we sat there drinking it, she told me she had never been more certain in all her life of my innocence in any matter of misbehaviour. I don’t know whether I blushed visibly but I could feel myself doing inwardly. Anyway, my crime remains undetected to this day – unless one of my siblings happens to read this!