Memories: Trouble in the Village

My younger brother and I were brought up in a small village in England back in the 1970s.

Our parents were very old-fashioned in outlook and were also extremely strict with both of us.

The discipline itself was carried out almost exclusively by mother.

The environment of our upbringing was very protective – perhaps too much so.

In our house, certain subjects were taboo and friendships with members of the opposite sex were strictly forbidden.

By the time that I was a certain age, I was quite naturally beginning to take an interest in boys but was however extremely innocent.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my parents deliberately tried to dissuade any interest from boys.

They did this by making me wear clothes that, at best, could be described as non-provocative.

Whereas other girls went around in jeans, fashionable shoes and so on, I only had plain skirts and the like to wear.

Unfortunately, there was one boy in my class, Richard, who nevertheless took a fancy to me.

Having discovered my address, Richard wrote me a letter.

As a matter of course, my post was opened and read by my parents before I got to see it.

Their reaction to the contents of the letter caused them much annoyance.

I never actually got to see what was in the letter since it was destroyed.

However,  I was told in no uncertain terms that I was to make it clear to Richard that he was not to write or contact me again.

Indeed, my parents were so concerned that I later learned they went as far as trying to get the school to move me to another class.

The next day I spoke to Richard, explained the position, and obtained his assurance that he wouldn’t embarrass me again.

Unfortunately, though, he told one of his friends.

This friend of Richards clearly thought that it would be highly amusing to write himself.

The net result was that a few days later, a second letter arrived.

I arrived home from school to be greeted by a clearly highly irate mother.

I was made to stand there for what seemed an age.

This was, whilst my mother ranted and raved about how disobedient I had been, how I had clearly encouraged the boy, and so forth.

To make matters worse, one of Mother’s friends had called around and sat there grim-faced.

My Mothers friend added the occasional comment which only served to stoke the parental fire still further.

My attempts to protest my innocence were virtually shouted down.

It took Mother sometime before she calmed down a little.

“Clearly, I need to demonstrate what happens to disobedient, wilful little girls like you,”

Mother said, virtually spitting the words out in terms which I can still recall to this day.

After this admonishment, she went out to the kitchen

Mother returned a few moments later with her long, slender cane.

This was an instrument which she had often threatened to use but had thus far avoided doing so.

I remember feeling absolutely terrified at the sight of her, flexing the stick menacingly.

“Bend over!” came the inevitable instruction.

Immediately I complied with this command.

Fearing that any hesitation would only serve to make things even worse.

By this time I was already in tears.

This was only at the terrifying prospect of being caned.

It was of having to endure it across the bottom with both my brother and Mother’s friend looking on.

“Six of the best,” came the pronouncement of my sentence.

“And don’t you dare get up before you’re told to, otherwise we’ll start all over again.”

I gritted my teeth and steeled myself for the first stroke.

When it came, it felt as though I had been struck with a red hot poker.

This was accompanied by a noise that sounded as though someone had shot a gun in the room.

I can remember screaming out at the top of my voice.

Only just managing to avoid the natural reaction of standing up to protect myself.

There was a long pause between each stroke.

Mother using the opportunity to deliver a short lecture, which I was in no condition to take in.

I was made to take all six strokes, each as venomous as the first.

By the end of the caning, I was so fearful that I could hardly see.

“Right – stand up, girl,” came the instruction.

This at least signalled that my ordeal was over, or so I thought.

“The next time either of you misbehaves, it’ll be twelve strokes – Do you understand?”

Mother announced, addressing both my brother and myself, before returning her cane to the kitchen.

Although that was the end of the caning, it was far from the end of my ordeal.

For the remainder of the afternoon, I was made to stand in a corner facing the wall with my hands on my head waiting for Father to arrive home from work.

The clear implication was that I could well find myself on the receiving end of another ‘spanking’ (as Mother delightfully put it) if Father decided that it was necessary.

With my backside still smarting from the cane, I was naturally terrified of this possibility and it was a very long and anxious wait.

Upon arriving home, Father was given a graphic description of my alleged disobedience and what steps had been taken already.

During the course of their discussion, I had to remain in the corner, quaking in my shoes.

Thankfully, it was decided that I had already been dealt with adequately.

Although I was to be ‘grounded’ for the duration of the forthcoming half-term holiday.