When I was six years old, my mother began sending me to my aunt and uncle’s house in North Carolina for the Summer. It was great fun, as they had two boys of their own – Tommy was one year my senior and Robbie a year younger than me.
My aunt and uncle were very loving to me and treated me as like their own children. However, as well as hugs and kisses, this also included a sore bottom if I misbehaved.
This was something I was used to at home – my mother paddled my bare bottom when I was naughty – but my aunt’s punishments were of a different order altogether.
The first time I got my behind reddened by her was for talking back. My auntie ordered me to strip completely naked, then told me to pick a switch.
The latter command left me baffled. I had never heard the word being used in any other context, so in all innocence I pointed to a light switch on the wall. This made Auntie laugh and for a moment her stern face softened.
Then she called up the stairs to Tommy. “Come down here and show your cousin how to pick a switch!” Tommy came down and told me to follow him. He took me outside and pulled a slim branch off a tree, then removed all the leaves and smaller stems.
Finally, he handed it to me. “Give this to my mom – you’re about to get your butt whipped with it, so good luck!” I reluctantly took the switch from Tommy and walked back to the sliding door. Auntie came outside with Robbie to meet me, and Tommy lingered too. I suddenly realised that both my cousins were going to witness my first whipping.
Auntie held out her hand and I gave her the switch. “Right, Jeremy. Turn around, put your hands on your knees and stick your bottom out for me.” Slowly, reluctantly, I did as I was told.
Then she began whipping my bottom, thighs and legs with the switch my cousin had prepared for me. Each stroke hurt unbelievably, and I began to cry like a baby right after the first stroke.
Once I had been thoroughly whipped, Auntie put me in a corner of the dining room for an hour. When that part of that punishment, she came back over to me and spanked my bottom a little more, this time with her hand. Of course, this rekindled my tears.
“Can I expect any more back-talk from you, young man?” she demanded. Through my blubbering, I promised to be respectful in future. Auntie landed one last hefty smack on my small backside. “You’d better be,” she observed. “Now go to your room!”
I scampered up the stairs, still in floods of tears, to the bedroom I shared with the other two boys. The closet in our room had mirrored doors, so I was able to get a look at my freshly switched backside.
Wincing, I eased down my shorts, then my underpants, and looked over my shoulder. My body was covered in red stripes from just above my knees to the top of my butt crack.
As I surveyed the damage, Tommy and Robbie came in. Robbie said: “I’m sorry you got such a bad whipping, Jeremy.” “Thanks,” I replied, adding ruefully: “I think I’d rather be paddled than switched.”
Tommy flashed an awkward smile for a second, then said: “Careful what you wish for. If we misbehave while we’re away from home, Mom takes us to the bathroom and paddles us with her hairbrush. That’s bad enough, but then we get the switch too.
“How long does it takes the cuts to heal?” I asked him. “About a week – but Mom’ll put cream on your bottom every night and morning until it heals.”
Sure enough, a few minutes later Auntie came upstairs, a pot of cold cream in her right hand. She ordered me to bare my bottom, then lie face down on my bed. She then applied the cream to my bottom, thighs and legs. She was very gentle and she kissed my cheek when she had finished.
I never talked back to her again, but this was not my last switching and on a couple of occasions I got the double punishment of hairbrush and switch my cousin had warned me about.