I had been dating my boyfriend Matt for over a year. We didn’t talk much about the discipline in our homes, but I had some idea of how Matt’s parents handled disobedience.
Although Matt rarely mentioned the subject, I knew his father had taken a belt to him on a few occasions when he was younger, while his younger sister Kelly’s discipline was left up to their mother. Matt was 21 at the time and I was 20.
His sister Kelly had just turned 17.
One Saturday afternoon Matt and I had just arrived at his house to find his mother in a state of fury.
Apparently, Kelly had failed to come home the night before.
She had obviously broken her midnight curfew, as well as worrying her mother immensely.
Matt tried to reason with his mother and calm her down, but Mrs. Murphy didn’t want to hear it.
When Kelly finally came home, her mother was waiting at the door with a black leather belt in her hand.
Kelly’s face paled. “Mom, I’m sorry,” she pleaded. “It just got late. I didn’t mean – ” “I don’t want to hear a word out of you,”
Mrs. Murphy snapped, grabbing Kelly’s arm and smacking her behind hard. “Get in here.”
Matt sighed. “She’s gonna get it.” His mother was unusually strict with Kelly, much more so than she had been with Matt. But Kelly was usually asking for trouble too.
She had a smart mouth, a fiery Irish temper, and a definite attitude.
Her brother, although known to pull a few reckless acts every now and then, was much more easygoing and relaxed.
Mrs. Murphy dragged Kelly into the kitchen and set a chair in the middle of the room. Kelly was looking panicky and begging her mother not to punish her with the belt.
Her voice was desperate. “Bend over that chair, young lady,” Mrs. Murphy ordered. “I’ll teach you not to come home.” “Come on, Matt,” I said quietly, taking his hand. “Let’s go outside.”
I was embarrassed for Kelly and really didn’t want to be around for her punishment. But Matt shook his head.
“My mom’s really mad, I want to make sure Kelly’s okay.”
I thought that was so sweet, although I still didn’t want to be in that house while Kelly got it. “Mom, no!” we could hear Kelly protesting.
“Really, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” Mrs. Murphy’s hand cracked Kelly’s bottom again. “Be Silent!” she barked.
Tears welled in Kelly’s eyes. Silently she obeyed and bent over the chair.
Her mom began whipping the belt down.
It wasn’t long before Kelly’s screams and cries filled the house.
“Ahhhh!” she howled. “Mom, stop, stop!” Never had her mother punished her this harshly before.
Matt looked tortured as he listened to the sounds of the belt echoing around the kitchen.
He visibly flinched as he heard each stroke and Kelly’s pained cries that followed.
I kept my hand on his arm and watched him fidget. He was very close to Kelly and he had always looked out for her.
The same way he always looked out for me.
Finally, after Kelly’s howls became too much for him to bear, Matt shook my hand off and bravely entered the kitchen where his younger sister was getting the worst hiding of her life.
Mrs. Murphy was strapping Kelly’s behind relentlessly.
She ignored Kelly’s screams and pleas. “Get out of here,” Mrs. Murphy ordered Matt without looking up.
“Mom – ” Matt started, his voice choking a little as he looked at his sister.
Kelly’s eyes met her brother’s and her face cheeks blushed.
She was totally mortified to have her brother see her like this.
Mrs. Murphy grabbed Kelly’s arm and forced her back into position. She brought the belt down again, even harder this time.
Kelly’s entire face contorted in pain with tears streaming down her face.
Matt stepped forward. “Mom, that’s enough,” he said firmly.
“Get out, Matthew!” Mrs. Murphy yelled, pointing the belt at Matt. “You’ll just make it worse for Kelly.”
“Mom, she’s had enough!
Mrs. Murphy ignored him and continued to bring the belt down on Kelly’s bottom.
Kelly’s young face was streaked with tears.
“Not feeling so cocky now, are you Kelly?” her mother snapped, aiming the belt at Kelly’s thighs.
Matt finally found his strength. He was 6’4″ and had strong, broad shoulders.
He grabbed at the belt just as his mother was swinging it down at full force.
A huge crack echoed through the air.
Matt swore as a bright red stripe immediately welled on his palm.
He shook his hand out quickly, then grabbed for the belt again.
This time he got it. Mrs. Murphy was furious.
She slapped at Matt harmlessly, but he would never hit her back.
He just held the belt over her head and said, “
You’re done. Kelly has learnt her lesson.”
Mrs. Murphy might have been tempted to agree if Kelly had not made the ultimate mistake in judgment.
Kelly used a swear word. “What did you say to me,” her mother shouted.
She reached for the belt, but Matt held it out of her reach. Angrily,
Mrs. Murphy reached for the first weapon she could find, a wooden spoon on the kitchen counter.
Kelly got about another good dozen whacks with the spoon.
She was bawling and screaming, and even Matt didn’t help her out this time. He would never think of swearing at his mother.
Finally, Mrs. Murphy decided Kelly’s punishment was sufficient.
“Get in the corner, young lady !” she ordered, marching her along, smacking her bottom on the way.
And so help me God, if you so much as swear at me again, you’ll be over that chair again faster than you can blink.”
She aimed three more smacks at Kelly’s bottom with the spoon, sending Kelly into fresh new tears. It must have hurt so bad.