Nowadays, the arrival of school report cards is much less of an occasion than in the past. I know from experience with my own family that parents today have so many ways to get regular information from schools, such as emails, texts and school intranets. That means there generally aren’t too many surprises by the time the formal report is sent out.
But when our girls were growing up, report card day was an occasion of some jeopardy and anxiety, not least because sub-standard reports would lead to a spanking.
We raised three girls: Katherine, Lizzy and Andrea. My husband and I were strict parents who didn’t flinch from using regular, firm bare bottom spankings.
Having said that, we certainly didn’t expect straight As and I don’t think anyone should: people have different aptitudes and cannot be expected to find everything easy. So what we were most focused on was effort and attitude. It could be that for one particular subject. a C grade would be the result of hard work, while for another a B grade would represent a lazy performance. We were guided in this mostly by the teachers’ comments, as well as paying close attention to what they reported on general conduct and behaviour.
Report cards were generally posted out on a Friday to arrive on a Saturday – this was still a time in the UK when you could reliably expect your post to arrive first thing in the morning! On report day we would all be up early for breakfast. The girls would stay in their night clothes and anxiety about what was to come meant they generally wouldn’t eat too much.
Once we heard the post drop, I would go and fetch the envelopes and the girls would be sent to wait in the living room. Hubby and I would open the reports at the kitchen table and take our time to assess them before deciding what they meant for the waiting girls.
I can recall one report card day when Katherine was 15, Lizzy was 12 and Andrea nine On this occasion there were only reports for our elder two as Andrea was still in primary school, so her report came out on a different day. She was excused after breakfast while Katherine and Lizzy awaited their verdicts.
Katherine was working towards her public exams at this time and she had really knuckled down to it. Her report card was flawless, full of praise for her hard work and predictions of an excellent set of final results.
It was a very different story for Lizzy. It was a mediocre set of results, with teacher after teacher saying there was lots of room for improvement. The final comment from her form teacher said Lizzy was obviously an able girl who needed who apply herself.
Originally, the ultimate punishment in our house had been a strapping, but by this stage we had also started to use a cane. Hubby agreed with me that Lizzy’s report had certainly earned her a caning – or, as I described, it ‘a good arse-striping’!
The cane was a simple straight school-style rattan which we had acquired via a headmistress friend. All three of our girls had been caned by this stage – even Andrea, who had recently received a three stroke ‘taster’ at the conclusion of a sound, over-the-knee bare bottom hand spanking. So like her sisters, our youngest knew that the biting sting of the cane was definitely something to be avoided.
We went through to the living room and started off by showering Katherine with praise, leaving her beaming with pride and relief. But the mood changed as I spoke to Lizzy. “Elizabeth, it’s clear you’ve been doing the absolute minimum to scrape through. You know this lack of effort is unacceptable – and you are going to be punished for it.”
As we both scolded her, Lizzy made some efforts to plead her case, pointing out that she had passed all subjects. But her father cut her off saying: “We’ve heard enough.” Turning to Katherine, he said: “Can you please go up to our room and fetch the cane for your sister’s punishment?”
Katherine sprung up to oblige, a smug expression on her face, as Lizzy began desperately pleading. “Please! Not the cane! I promise I’ll work so much harder! I don’t need the cane!”
This time it was me who cut her off. “That’s enough, Elizabeth – get over here and get over my knee.” I was sitting on the sofa and as Lizzy came to stand in front of me I slid down her pyjama bottoms and knickers, tipped her over my knee and quickly landed my first slap on her bare bottom.
I settled into a hard and fast rhythm, spanking one cheek then the other. I didn’t take long for the tears to come as my daughter’s bottom turned from ivory white to dusky pink.
I paused for a moment as Katherine bounced back, in handing the cane to her father. She was excused and I raised my hand again, this time slowing the pace but increasing the force.
I nodded to my husband and and we slid Lizzy on to his lap for another spanking. He added some firm fatherly slaps on top of the hiding I had just delivered.
I then slipped off the sofa to prepare for the main event. I gave the cane a slight flex, reacquainting myself with its weight and feel. Then I had a few practice swishes as I could see hubby was bringing the spanking to an end. He got Lizzy positioned over the arm of the sofa and then sat back down on it, holding her arms and upper body in place.
We had both spanked her firmly and her bottom had the shiny red look of a ripe tomato but there was more to come. I pronounced sentence: “Elizabeth, you need a good reminder about the importance of hard work, so you are getting eight strokes of the cane.” That provoked even more protests, as her previous maximum had been a sixer.
I laid the cane across Lizzy’s buttocks, drew it back and snapped it down with a flick of the wrist. She howled as a visible stripe formed across her bottom. I was a confident, accurate caner and I was able to deliver six closely grouped but not overlapping stripes across the centre of my daughter’s buttocks.
For the rapid, final two, I aimed a bit lower at her sit spot – which took her protests up a notch and had hubby doing his bit to keep her in place.
Once I had finished, her father let her up and she performed her ‘spanky dance’, trying to rub the itch out of her well- marked backside. Once that had subsided, I directed her nose first into the corner for half an hour, from where I could observe my recent handiwork.
Needless to say, Lizzy’s attention to school work improved significantly next term.