When my brother Andrea and I were boys, it was our mother who handled all the behaviour matters. Our father ran a small olive farm in the north east of Italy and was out of the house all day long, so the last thing he wanted to be bothered about was naughty little children!
Mama was a firm believer in spankings, and from as young as I can remember getting them (probably about three or four years old, though I’m not sure), she used a piece of olive wood roughly in the shape of a ruler, though probably a little wider, maybe about four or five centimetres wide and a few millimetres thick. This was always referred to in our house as ‘La Disciplina’, in English literally ‘The Discipline’.
Mama told us that she had been given La Disciplina when she was pregnant with me, her older boy, by another mother whose children had gotten too old for it, so in all probability it had already kissed quite a few little children’s bottoms before our own! It was worn smooth with use, for sure, and really stung. In case you didn’t know, olive wood is very dense, so even a small piece of it has quite some weight and La Disciplina made a big impact on our small bottoms.
It was given in the traditional way, over Mama’s knee with our pants and underpants at our ankles. Even just a few smacks with La Disciplina on our bare bottoms would be enough to reduce us to tears as little boys, and as we got bigger, Mama increased the dose accordingly, so by five or six years old, we could expect a severe beating if we misbehaved.
Mama never bothered about who saw us getting spanked either. I can recall several occasions when either myself or Andrea were over her knee, crying heartily as we got our bare behind warmed, and one of the farm workers, or maybe a family friend, would walk into the kitchen as the punishment was being given. Most of the time they would have a wry grin on their face at seeing a little child being spanked, sometimes remarking to Mama how well we ‘sang’ under the onslaught of La Disciplina.
Probably the most embarrassing example of this was when Andrea was being spanked one day when he was about nine for stealing some chocolate. I was watching with the satisfaction only brothers get when they see the other getting their bottom tanned when in walked another local mother with her young daughter, who I think would be about five or six.
Mama looked up from her motherly work only briefly to greet them, then finished spanking my brother thoroughly. The other mother squatted down by her daughter and whispered in her ear, pointing at my brother’s little bare buttocks – no doubt she was saying what happened to naughty children, and how red Andrea’s bottom was. But how humiliating for Andrea to have this little girl see him spanked like a toddler!
After Mama had finished with him, he was made to face the wall with his spanked bottom on show for a while (this was her standard practice) while his mother put away La Disciplina until the next time it was needed, and offered our unexpected guests some coffee and cake.