My parents did not spare the rod.
I’m not complaining though. As far as I know, I turned out all right. I can’t think of any weird fetishes or phobias.
My stayed at home to take care of me and my two sisters while my dad brought home the bacon. They had three kids before my mom was thirty. People stopped her at the grocery store to tell her how cute we were and what hard work it must be for her to babysit all three at the same time. Their eyes must have popped out of their heads when she claimed us as her own. She weighed right at 100 pounds when she was married. Imagine a slender, former college cheerleader with long, chestnut hair in high-waisted bell bottoms and a striped rugby polo with a white collar. That was my mom.
Apparently, I was a “handful.” She tells me that I was really sweet, just headstrong. Let’s say, for example, that she caught me eating Oreos in the pantry. “No more cookies. You’ll ruin your dinner,” she would say. I probably still had my eyes locked on the jar, wishing I’d gotten there just a little bit sooner, or that I was wearing pants with pockets.
“Do you hear what I’m saying to you?”
Satisfied that she’d made her point clear, she would go back to doing whatever she was doing. My mother is a miracle-worker when it comes to cooking and sewing. I’m not trying to reinforce gender stereotypes or anything. I’m just saying she was good.
Well, I apparently would wander off as though I’d taken her admonition to heart.
Until she let her guard down again, then back to honey pot.
She would, of course, catch me a second time.
“I thought I told you not to eat any more cookies. Didn’t I tell you not to eat anymore cookies?”
“Then why did you eat more cookies?”
“I wanted some.”
“I’m going to have to give you a spanking.”
She’d give me a spanking, but pretty soon, she’d find herself involved in this or a similar scenario.
“Spanking never seemed to work with you. It’s almost like you didn’t care. You understood that this was the consequence of doing what you wanted to do, and you were willing to accept this consequence.” She says that I was rarely disrespectful, and I always told her the truth. Discipline simply had no effect.
She speculates that she spanked me four or five times some days. She’d call my Dad at work: “I don’t know what to do. I spanked him three times before lunch.” He told her to use him. She’d threaten me with spankings from him.
When I received said spankings, I might cry or pitch a fit, but I’m told my stubbornness remained.
I only remember being spanked a couple of times. I guess it was so normal to me after awhile that there was nothing special to remember. How many times do you remember brushing your teeth? You know you did it, you just can’t remember many specific instances.
One time, I laughed at my younger sister making the Walk of Shame from the kitchen through the den to the bathroom. We always got it in the bathroom, to save us from the embarrassment of the rest of the family watching or listening. I thought, ”Finally! Somebody else getting a spanking for a change!” The respite afforded me so much pleasure that laughter bubbled out of me. Wrong move. My dad yanked me into the bathroom next.
The last time I got spanked I was eleven or twelve. I was taller and stronger than my mom at this point. She must have known this. I probably picked up on it. It was only a matter of time before we transitioned into grounding and losing privileges, the two classic punishments for your average American adolescent.
Anyway, I forget what precipitated the event. Depending on how old I was, I probably smarted off—a new trick I learned at David Lipscomb Middle School—or called my older sister a fattie.
Mom was scrambling to find the new paddle they’d borrowed from my great-grandparents. Thing was a whopper. You could put a small pepperoni pizza in an oven with it. The first time they took their eyes off of it, I’d hidden it underneath back issues of National Geographic in the cabinets in the den. I was no dummy. That wooden behemoth never touched me.
All she could find was a thin wooden paddle for which I’d redeemed tickets at the skating rink. The rubber string and rubber ball had fallen off. A child about my age stenciled a blue eagle on it, no doubt somewhere in Taiwan.
My mom sat down on the commode and bent me over her knee. (We did everything the old-fashioned way.)
When this cheap paddle made contact with my backside, it snapped in half.
[Never do what I’m about to tell you.]
I started laughing.
When your mom is pissed out of her mind at you, do what you need to do to cork it.
Maybe I was a dummy. The comic relief was too much. My mom had just broken a paddle across my butt. Who has the privilege of saying that? It was easily the most important moment in my life up to that point. (I was baptized soon after.)
As you can imagine, my mom wasn’t laughing. She didn’t appreciate the sweet irony of breaking one of my broken toys across my caboose and that while trying to teach me a lesson.
Her face filled with red like a thermometer.
She was too filled with rage to even speak in normal tones.
She growled something through clenched teeth that sounded like, “Go to your room.”
I was happy to oblige. I had several Roald Dahl stories to finish reading.
She never spanked me again, which is probably for the best.