It’s currently winter here and for the first time for some years, we have very cold weather and snow. And the weather has reminded me of another winter.
There was a pond near to where we lived then. It would freeze in the winter when it was really cold, so hard you could actually skate on it, something I loved to do.
Of course, because of the obvious dangers, us children were not allowed to skate on the ice without adult supervision. However, as you may have already guessed, it proved too much of a temptation for me and I would ignore the rules and skate on my own.
On my way home from school one day with my friend Hanna, we passed the frozen pond. I really wanted to skate but Hanna didn’t think it was a good idea – she pointed out that no-one else was out on the ice. I didn’t listen. I put down my school bag and went out on to the ice. It felt fine, as always, and I even called Hannah a ‘pansy’ for not joining me out there.
Naturally, my friend was offended by my taunt. “If you’re going to be stupid, Sarah, I’m going home,” she said. She was just about to go when the ice suddenly gave way beneath me and I plunged into the icy water. Hanna went from being mad at me to a desperate attempt to help me. She couldn’t reach me herself but managed to help me get hold of a tree branch. “Hold on while I get help!” she shouted.
Both our homes were too far away to get immediate assistance so Hanna went to a house near the pond where our Sunday school teacher lived with her husband, who came running out quickly and fished me out of the pond in short order. He gave me a bit of a lecture but was mainly just glad I was OK. Soaking wet and shivering, I was bundled into his car and driven home, Hanna nursing my school bag on her lap.
Mom opened the door and looked extremely worried to see me in such a state, but she was also very stern and firm once she heard I had been out on the ice by myself. She took my bag from Hanna and she got a lift home from the Sunday school teacher’s husband, who promised to explain to her mother what had happened so she wouldn’t be in trouble for being home late.
Meanwhile, Mom ran a hot bath for me and put me in the tub like a much younger child. While she bathed me, she read me a strong lecture. “Sarah, what were you thinking? You know very well it’s forbidden for children to skate on their own. What’s more, you were very unkind to Hanna for doing the right thing. You have been a very naughty girl today!”
My father happened to be away on a business trip. Mom said she would call him and tell him all about my misbehavior. “Go to your room and I will be in to give you the punishment your father and I think is best for you.”
About half an hour passed before Mom came in to see me. She sat on my bed and stood me up in front of her. “Sarah, I have spoken to your father. You have been warned many times about skating without adult supervision and you put your life in danger today. There is no other suitable punishment for you than a sound spanking.
“Now, you have a choice. You can wait for Daddy to come home and give you your spanking in a couple of days, or you can go over my knee for it now and get it over with. Which is it to be?”
There was a silence for a few minutes, then I mumbled: “Now, I guess.” “Right,” Mom replied, “let’s get this over with, then.”
As soon as my bottom had been prepared for the spanking, Mom firmly guided me over her knee until I was in the required position. Then she raised her right hand and began to thoroughly spank me.
I got twelve smacks in all – and I was quickly reduced to tears, crying more like a youngster getting their first spanking.
Eventually, Mom helped me up from her knee and sat me up . I was in floods of tears, but Mom held me tightly and shushed me. When I had quietened down, she said: “Hush now, Sarah – it’s all done and you’re forgiven. We love you so much – we’d be devastated if anything happened to you. That’s why you had to be spanked – to help you make better choices in the future. Do you understand?” I nodded through my tears.
Mom put me down on the bed to finish having a cry. “I’ll give you a call when dinner is ready – you stay there for a while, and think about what you did.”