Sunday, November 20, 2011

The spanking

When I was in 7th grade - 12-13 years old - I got spanked by the school principal.

Let's just let that sink in for a moment, shall we?

Spanked.  With a paddle.  In junior high school.

The whole class was in the gym, one afternoon after lunch, killing time before afternoon classes started.  I was "going with" Mike at the time.  Terms have changed over the years, so I will make this clear:  Mike was my boyfriend.  (I hear nowadays, kids "go out" instead of "going steady" or "going together".  Whatever.  I can't keep up with terminology.)  One of my best friends, Laura, had a boyfriend too, but I can't remember who it was.  (He had to be one of the popular kids, because Laura didn't date any slouches.)  Anyway, Mike and I were standing by the bleachers, chatting with Laura and Boyfriend.  Both Mike and Boyfriend had one of their arms resting on top of our shoulders - like this --

It was the kind of thing pals or buddies do.  There was no hugging, no smooching, no cuddling - no other contact of any kind.  I don't know about Laura, but I didn't have my arm around Mike at all - both hands, free and clear.  No PDAs (public displays of affection) - just one arm, placed across our shoulders.  

But apparently that was too much for our principal, Mr. George Taylor, to take.  He marched up to us, ordered us to report to his office at once, and stomped off.  Laura and I waited outside his office while Mike and Boyfriend went in.  We heard loud talking and...  a paddle?  Being used on a back side??  That couldn't possibly be what we were hearing.  The boys emerged from the office, walked past us with smirks on their faces, and Mr. Taylor called us in.  Keep in mind, the boys were in his office for less than 10 minutes.  

We went in and started to sit down in chairs across from his desk, but he told us to stand up and turn around.  And he spanked us.  With a paddle.  And it hurt.

Laura and I didn't have the luxury of leaving soon after like the boys did.  Oh no.  Mr. Taylor had a point to make.  We had to sit there, trying not to cry, and listen to his lecture.  He were told that if we kept up with that sort of behavior, we would get bad reputations, and no upstanding young lady would want that.  He said that one thing leads to another, and he wouldn't want to see us "get in deeper trouble" (like having an arm put around our shoulders was akin to a gateway drug?)  He warned us that he would not tolerate such behavior on his school grounds, and that our cheerleading careers would come to an abrupt end if he saw it again.  And so on, and so on, and so on.

He lectured us on womanly virtues - for an hour.

Now, if you've been traveling down memory lane with me lately, you've probably come to realize that my parents were not into corporal punishment.  My mother's discipline came through loud and clear without it, thank you very much.  She was not pleased when I got home that afternoon and told her what happened.  She asked for all the details and went to the school the next day to have a chat with Mr. Taylor.  I have no idea what was said, and no amount of pleading could drag any details out of her.  The only thing she said was "That will never happen again."

And it didn't.

Principles used to get away with a lot.  My sister will correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember a photo in one of her yearbooks from the late 60's - The principle (Mr. Horn?) had a line of girls standing in the hallway, their backs to him, bent over, with their hands on their knees.  Apparently, if he could 'see anything' the skirts were too short.  And having a rule that the skirts had to touch the tops of knees didn't seem accurate enough?

Extremes in being treated with kindness (my Aunt Sis) or otherwise (Sue the bus driver and George Taylor)...  that stuff really sticks with a kid.


  1. YOU were a cheerleader???!!! Bahahahahaha! Yep, that is what I took away from that story!

  2. You would. And only in junior high.

  3. Good grief! Was touching a shoulder considered a 'gateway to touching other places' back in the 70s?