Picking Flowers

I’ve enjoyed reading your accounts of childhood scrapes and punishments from other people,

However I think my own spanking memory – and actually my earliest childhood memory overall – might be the one of the oldest memories.

This happened during the late 1940s.

I remember it was a lovely sunny day and I was playing in the back garden of our house in Liverpool.

My parents were both dozing in a deckchair each, enjoying the fine weather.

I think Dad was reading a newspaper, while Mum was sipping a cup of tea and neither were paying much attention to me.

We had a modest flower bed at the bottom of the garden and it was nearly all in bloom.

It looked so lovely that I thought I would pick some flowers for my mum, as I had seen other little girls do.

So it was that a few minutes later, I strode up happily to my mother with a bunch of freshly-picked flowers of all colors and held them out for her to take.

Imagine my horror when instead of being delighted, Mum’s face suddenly turned to thunder and she began shouting at me, calling me a ‘naughty little girl’.

I was upset and confused, but not half as upset as I was a few moments later when Mum put across her knee and given a soundly smacked bottom.

I mainly remember two things.

First, the roughness of Mum’s serge skirt against my tummy and my ‘front bottom’ (as we girls were taught to call it).

Second, of course, I remember the stinging of my mother’s hand.

Little as I was, she didn’t spare me, and by the time my smacking was done, I had a very stinging bottom.

My only other memory of it is being sat on Mum’s lap afterward (still bare and itchy from that skirt, though the buzzing leftover from the smacking was still worse) and being cuddled for a while until I stopped crying, after which I was taken in for an afternoon nap.

In retrospect, and by today’s standards, the punishment seems very harsh.

But as it was explained to me when I got older, at that time food rationing was still strictly enforced.

The family garden was mostly given over to producing food and I think Mum believed that if I wasn’t immediately disciplined, there was a chance I would subsequently pull up vegetables or pick fruit which was much-needed to feed a hungry family.