I have such fond memories of summers back in my childhood and youth – the 60s and 70s were wonderful times! Swimming both in local swimming pools and rivers; ice cream on a really hot day; games of cowboys and Indians; cops and robbers; building our own camps, and all kinds of other fun and games. Of course, sometimes we also got into a fair bit of mischief as well, though all pretty innocent in comparison with what happens so often today.
One of my favourite pastimes – and I think I speak on behalf of many of my playmates too – was watching, overhearing and hearing about other kids getting spanked! Whenever a spanking was taking place, if there were any kids in the vicinity, they would congregate in the area where it was happening – typically outside of an apartment or house, near to a window or sometimes behind a fence, bush or tree – to listen to the proceedings.
If we were especially lucky, and the spanking was given out in the open, as often was the case, we got the full visual experience as well. Often, the adult administering the punishment would be very quite happy for us to watch their child’s spanking; indeed, sometimes they would actually command us to stay where we were and witness the whole event.
I guess they felt it would add an extra element of humiliation to the whole procedure for the kid getting their butt blistered, and would also act as a deterrent to us other children to behave ourselves, which it certainly did! Sometimes the adult would even ask whether any of the other youngsters who had just witnessed the spanking needed one themselves – to which we would promptly reply in respectful unison ‘no ma’am’ or ‘no sir” – and just as promptly disappear!
If we were watching or listening secretly, then we had to be a lot more discreet, since we ran the risk of being discovered, which could of course result in our own bottoms getting tanned.
There would always be much giggling and nervous laughter. If we didn’t personally know the kid getting spanked or their family, we would try to guess whether the punishment was being given by hand or with an implement. We also would try to judge whether or not the spanking was being administered on the child’s bare behind. In those days, virtually all spankings were given on the bare bottom, and such spankings had a distinct sound all of their own anyway.
We became quite adept at ascertaining what implement was being used. For example, a hairbrush had its own distinct sound, especially when connecting with bared buttocks. On impact with the recipient’s backside, it would make either a loud thud; or if it achieved a really good application it would impart an unmistakable cracking sound as it left a particularly burning sting and smart. The howls and screams that ensued from these hairbrush spankings were especially loud, vocal and heartfelt. I remember how we would collectively wince when those really ear splitting cracks of a hairbrush landed.
The wooden spoon. by contrast, tended to have more of a ‘pop’ to it when it made its stinging report on a naked backside. The strap also had a sound all of its own! The swish through the air, culminating in an almighty crack as the leather wrapped itself around the miscreant’s behind. The screams, howling and crying that ensued from a strapping was something else.
The most dramatic vocal reactions were produced from whippings with the switch! The build -p to the moment of impact with this instrument of pain and suffering was very subtle and understated. You would hear a faint swishing noise as the switch travelled through the air, followed by an emphatic ‘thwack’ as the flexible and slender rod wrapped its ‘business end’ around some unfortunate youngster’s derriere. Because of its quieter mode of operation, we kids called the switch ‘the silent assassin’!
Obviously, that moniker only applied to the instrument itself – the screams, shrieks and howling that accompanied a switching were like nothing else you had ever heard before in your life. In these case, even the most sadistic and least compassionate of us kids would be feeling sorry for the boy or girl on the receiving end.
The marks left from a severe switching were incredible to witness. I knew one boy whose father had thrashed him with a pear tree switch. From seeing the marks on his buttocks and legs in the communal school showers, I can testify that they took around five weeks to disappear completely from his skin.
It was interesting watching the reactions of the other kids when seeing and hearing a spanking taking place. At first, invariably there was amusement and excitement mixed with apprehension and fear.
As the punishment progressed, though, and the reactions of the kid getting spanked became more and more abject, desperate and plaintive, those feelings became increasingly replaced with ones of compassion, pity and sympathy. We all knew from bitter and painful experience just how much those spankings and whippings hurt. Indeed, on occasion some of the kids would find the whole cacophony hard to listen to, and depart before the ‘performance’ was over.
Nevertheless, I still look back on those long hot summers with fondness and nostalgia. For me anyway, they were halcyon days indeed.