Monday, September 15, 2014

What we remember



For sure, I got spanked, as a child. Though spanked meant spanked, and didn't include any attendant device, such as a switch or a belt. It was a manual operation, and the hand never hit my flesh. Never my face; it was all on the butt, through whatever I happened to be wearing that day.

My mother, when she spanked, would grab my arm, and I'd run around her like a maypole, so she had trouble meeting the intended target, and after awhile gave up, exhausted. If Mom steamed about whatever my transgression might have been that day, then she'd tell my dad, when he returned from work. Dad could hit a target.

My sister, brother, and me -- we didn't have many moments of solidarity; but spanking was one. My sister never got spanked, because she'd swoon. My brother, he took some tush-time, but had the very good sense to scream and repent. They were the smart ones. I took my swats like a soldier, as in, "Is that the best you can do?"

When I was disciplined, usually they wanted me to give up the names of my co-conspirators. Not a chance. At the end of the exercise, the three of us kids would gather together, I'd pull down my pants, to see if we had a perfect five-finger red imprint on my bottom. If so, we'd giggle. "Yeah, I see it."

Which is also funny, because it's not like we lived in the Vanderbilt mansion, where the parents would retreat to the third floor. They must have heard us. And known, I made my siblings laugh.

Outlasting the spanking without a single sound from me, gave me, gave us, a sense of power.

The spankings stopped, entirely, by the time I was about nine years old. I like to think my parents realized we wouldn't recall the cause, only the effect.

20 comments:

  1. The few times that I was spanked, I would lie face-down on my bed and my dad would spank me with my pants on. I would usually laugh hysterically, probably at the absurdity of the whole thing. Either I didn't consider myself guilty or I didn't think the spanking would matter now that I understood the charge. My dad never commented about my laughing.

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  2. My mom was diabolical. She would send me to my room where I'd have to call her when my bottom was bared. Then, I'd have to lay across her lap making the target all too available and tell her how many strikes with her hand I felt my transgression deserved. I always said one, which usually didn't agree with her assessment. After I'd collected myself, I had to find her and apologize. She claimed her method gave her time to calm down, and when she used her hand she knew how hard she was hitting. Now you know more about me than you probably ever cared to. 😧

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  3. I'd like to think that parents these days have left these humiliation tactics by the wayside. It didn't teach us anything.

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  4. My Dad, who raised me from the age of three, with brief guest appearances by two stepmothers, used a more scientific approach. I knew right from wrong apparently (the established "House" value system) so I would cry more from the shame of it all, I suppose. Or maybe I just wanted to always remain in favor ... I'll not elucidate on that aspect further.

    Anyway, I'd receive the spanking, and then be sent to "the chair". No, no, nothing as serious as you might imagine - I mean a chair in the corner or at some distance removed from the activity center of the room.

    Later, when I was bad, I'd be sent to the chair, but, without the spanking. I'd still cry and buckle under this banishment as though I'd been beaten silly.

    ... kinda Pavlovian, isn't it?

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  5. Excellent piece (as always), and interesting comments!

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  6. I can't believe that anyone would ever consider spanking such obviously perfect children. Well, you LOOKED perfect, anyway.

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  7. I can imagine you were that kind of kid, taking the punishment stoically. I wasn't as brave. My mother once lost it with my 4 year old sister and beat her with a broomstick until it broke across her back. I guess she'd be in prison, or expelled from the NFL, if she'd done that today.

    Love the photo - you haven't changed at all!

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  8. I remember once swatting my mom on the rear just for fun. She came unglued and I went under the kitchen table while she struck away at me. I fought her off while she dragged me to my bedroom. I gave up after she choked me a bit. She was rough.

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  9. Good lord. My father was Pope Francis compared to some of these parents.

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  10. What a lovely photo of you with your sister and brother! I agree with Bellis, you haven't changed at all!
    Interesting post (as always) and comments too.

    I remember my father hit me a few times, luckily slightly (and my sister too) on my butt with his hand. My mother never did it. I also would like to think that parents these days have left these humiliation punishment.

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  11. It seems parents can dish it out but they can't take it is what I remember. If someone did to them what they did to their kids they would probably have them prosecuted. I'm glad we're getting this all out in the open.

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  12. It has been my experience that parents who hit, beat, spank, whop, or whatever you want to call it, their children, don't do it out of sense of duty or instruction, they do it out of anger.

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  13. My mother would trot out the classic line, "Just wait till your father gets home!" And then I was always wrong, so I didn't bother to try to plead my case. I refused to cry until they left me in my room. The spankings stopped when I was 11 and my father went back to hit me one more time, and threw his back out. Ended up in traction for a week.

    I smacked my kids once or twice, when they had done something beyond awful, usually bordering dangerous to themselves or others, and they remembered to never do that again. It's not for nothing I'm still known as the Fierce Midget.

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  14. Anonymous:
    Yes, it was out of anger. My mom came from a terrible family where she was molested and abused. She medicated herself with alcohol and eventually became psychotic. I'm sad for her that her life was so emotionally hard. I promised myself I wouldn't treat my family the way I was. I was strict but never abusive either physically or verbally. My family is close and loving. Only by God's grace. I wish my mother could have experienced what I have.

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  15. I feel like I missed out by not getting a spanking. My daddy had the magical power of making us stop whatever we were doing immediately just by furrowing his eyebrows, shaking his head, and saying my name in a low I'm-watching-you voice. Some of my asian friends will know what I'm talking about. I hope to have the same power when I'm older :)

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  16. Kaori, how wittily and wonderfully described.

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  17. Karin, I am shocked, yes, shocked, that in your youth you might have done anything for which you would be disciplined! You? Tsk.

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  18. I could slide nicely into this shot.

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  19. Oh, Pierre, I'm so glad you broke away from that, and that you've forgiven your mother.

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  20. Great story!
    Unfortunately, my mother preferred a weapon of some sort. I guess she didn't want to hurt her hand. Then again, she was just mean, so it probably had nothing to do with her hand.

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