I grew up in the very late 1950s – yes, I am that old! At the time of this story, we were still living in London. Later, when I was about 11, my parents inherited a lot of money and moved out to the country.
Besides myself, there was my brother, who was a year older than me. Naturally for those days, corporal punishment was an everyday fact of life, and up until the age of seven, Mum took care of the discipline. This was mostly administered over her knee and done with her hand. As a rule she usually smacked over underpants, but I did get it on my bare bottom once or twice when I was really naughty.
When I was seven, I stole some sweets from a jar in the kitchen after being told I could not have any. Mum caught me in the act. After she had finished lecturing me, I started to pull down my shorts for her to smack me– hoping that by taking my punishment obediently she would go easy on my bottom. However, to my shock, Mum told me that I was a big boy now and that Dad would deal with me when he came home. From what my brother had told me about his own punishments, I knew this meant the strap or cane.
Dad eventually came home, and I got another big lecture. Then – as he did with my brother – Dad sent me upstairs to get undressed and, at a stated time, to fetch the cane and go to the front room.
I did as I was told and reported with the cane. After another, Dad said: “I’m going to teach you not to steal, Graham. Bend over the chair – I’m going to give you four strokes.” As Mum usually smacked me over pants I still had these on. Dad peremptorily told me to take them off, saying it would be bare bottom from now on.
I obeyed, then bent over and got four strokes on my bare bottom. These hurt a lot more than Mum’s hand, needless to say. I was then made to stand facing the wall for a while to reflect on my sins, and after that was sent straight to bed. When I got to my room, I examined my bottom in the mirror and saw four red lines across my buttocks, which were still visible the following morning.
Actually, I don’t think Dad caned me very hard that first time compared to successive punishments – but it still hurt. However, most of the tears I shed while being caned were due to the thought that I was getting a ‘big boy’s punishment’ and that this, more than the sting, made me cry.
Certainly afterwards, my bottom stinging and smarting, it was certainly the thought that I had got the cane, and the shame attached to it, that made me cry the most, although on subsequent occasions it was the sting that upset me more!