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Domestic Discipline

Melissa I

1963 was a year I still remember. I turned ten in August. The Dallas Cowboys went on to a great season and I even saw one of the home games in November. And after Labor Day, my parents found a new babysitter named Melissa. With a very busy social schedule, they were often out two or even three weeks a night at dinner parties, the theater, or the symphony. Mom had used a variety of baby sitters but most of them made little impression until Melissa Dobson.

She was sixteen when mom hired her and the daughter of our local minister. And for the past year, she had worked as the assistant teacher at my Sunday School, supervising twenty children aged six to eleven. She was also very pretty. Though a mere 5 ft 2, she was extremely curvy which made her look very grown up in my eyes. The fact that she was in charge of me every Sunday for an hour only added to her appeal. So did her regular habit of keeping order threatening unruly children with a spanking. Unfortunately she was not allowed to make good on her threats. All discipline was administered by the Sunday School director, Mrs. Clara Worthington.

Mrs. Worthington was a kindly woman in her late fifties who left most of the demanding work of supervising the children to Melissa. Mrs. Worthington preferred to stay in her office just off the main school room where she could keep an eye on things. As Mrs. Worthington’s assistant, Melissa was instructed to give only one warning to serious troublemakers. Repeat transgressors were promptly sent to Mrs. Worthington for discipline and that always meant a spanking. Mrs. Worthing spanked for roughhousing, disobedience, bad language, and any other offense Melissa deemed sufficiently serious. As one of the more rambunctious children, I ended up in Mrs. Worthington’s office at about every a month.

After any significant misbehavior, one was instructed by Melissa to “go and see Mrs. Worthington.” One knocked on the office door and stood outside until Mrs. Worthington responded. Sometimes she kept us waiting for three or four minutes if she was on the phone or busy with papers. After one of us disappeared into her office, a relative hush usually fell over the rest of the playroom. If we were in the middle of a loud game, Melissa often stopped and had us do something quiet. It was clear we were meant to hear these spankings so that they would serve as an extra deterrent. I remember the time Billy Rider was caught roughousing and sent to Mrs. Worthington. We were in the middle of reading Bible stories aloud. But when Mrs. Worthington opened her office door and took Billy inside, Melissa shut her book and announced,

“Boys and girls, since we don’t want Billy to miss the rest of our story, I think we’ll pause here. I want you all to take out your Bible coloring books and draw quietly at your desks until I say otherwise.”

Even though the door to Mrs. Worthington’s office was closed, one could hear bits and pieces of normal conversation. After a brief interrogation, the naughty child was required to confess his or her misdeed. While the confession was often impossible to hear, the preliminary interrogation and the scolding which followed were quite audible. So was the distinct sound which followed of a hand spanking a bare bottom.

I usually noted the exact moment when the child began crying, the different ways each child cried, and the way their crying changed at various stages. Many of the younger children began whimpering or crying from the moment they were told to “see Mrs. Worthington”. In hindsight, I think she liked to keep a naughty child waiting outside her office door in full view of the rest of us to add a little humiliation to the punishment. While most of the nine and ten year olds were able to hold back tears until inside her office, one often heard soft crying during the interrogation and scolding. Even that depended on the severity of the offense and the child’s sense of what to expect. Anyone caught doing something really bad knew they would be spanked harder. When this happened, even some of the older children started crying audibly as soon as they entered her office.

Even when one couldn’t hear any crying until the spanking, it was easy to imagine what was happening. Most of us had paid Mrs. Worthington a number of visits over the years. And she always followed the same routine. After a brief interrogation and a confession, she scolded us thoroghly for two or three minutes. She always used a firm voice as if aware she had a larger, captive audience in the next room. And she always scolded in the following manner.

“You have been very, very naughty, little boy. Do you know how Mrs. Worthington handles bad little boys? Do you? She bares their bottoms and gives them sound spankings. And that’s exactly what you’re going to get in a few minutes, young man, a sound spanking on your naughty fanny. Do you understand?”

No scolding ever lasted more than a few minutes. And toward the end, she would begin unfastening the boy’s belt and taking down his shorts (part of our Sunday School uniform). Once these were at his ankles, she would pull him over her lap and adjust him to the best position – something which took another thirty seconds or more. If a child wasn’t crying by the time his shorts were taken down or her dress raised, most began crying audibly when put over her lap or moments later when their bottoms were finally bared.

Since we couldn’t see what was happening out in the playroom, we listened for clues. Each whimper, each little protest, each quiet plea for mercy helped paint a more detailed picture. When I was sent to Mrs Worthington, I usually started crying only when she bared my bottom unless I had done something extra naughty that day. More than anything else, the lowering of my briefs brought home the fact that a strong, non-nonsense woman was about to give me a good spanking and there was nothing I could do about it. I had the same response when spanked by other women such as my mom or Mrs. Bailey, the nurse who handled all spankings at our school. As my fanny was bared, I felt an extra surge of juvenile helplessness and dependency as if I were still a toddler. Since I had been spanked regularly for misbehavior since I was two, each spanking invariably triggered memories of much earlier punishments. No wonder the baring of my bottom made me feel so “naughty”. Yet even while I felt terribly apprehensive, I also felt strangely safe and in an equally childish way. With my feet waving in the air, my head near the floor, and my fanny bare and all too vulnerable, I felt like I had given up control of my body to the very capable hands of a older, maternal figure who was about to teach me a lesson I had earned. Not that I wanted to learn any such lessons. Quite the contrary. Yet because I was never spanked without reason, I always understood why I was being spanked and why it was for my own good as I was usually reminded. Back in those days, all children who were bad got spanked. It was a simple as that.

While some of the older children avoided crying until Mrs. Worthington began spanking them, every child sent broke down sooner or later. Mrs. Worthington never stopped spanking until well after she heard genuine tears. Like my mom, she often said a good spanking began only after real crying. The first few times Mrs. Worthington spanked me, I tried to hold out only to discover my spanking went on and on. It didn’t take long to discover one could shorten the length and severity of a spanking by letting go earlier and crying freely. In any other situation, it would have been terribly embarrassing to cry within earshot of playmates. But because we all shared that fate sooner or later in Sunday School, most of us cried fairly readily. In any case, once a spanking started, one’s thoughts of embarrassment son gave way to feelings of utter helplessness and genuine repentance. Crying was the best method of venting such feelings and seemed to make spankings a little easier to take. And I know I felt a lot better afterwards when I let go earlier.

At home, I usually began crying openly as soon as mom sentenced me to a spanking. At school, all spankings were given by the nurse, Mrs. Bailey. The teacher would call her on a special phone and she would come collect the unhappy Since her office was in the basement far from the ears of any students, I always started crying earlier when spanked at school too. By the time I walked down the stairs and down the long hallway to her office, my face was usually tear streaked. Mrs. Bailey always lowered my pants and underpants immediately and make me stand in the corner while she finished what she was doing. She never finished in less than five minutes. And she always used corner time afterwards as well. From the moment I entered her office until the completion of my punishment when she called me out of the corner for a hug of reconciliation, I cried like a little boy. In some ways, I cried hardest afterwards when she held me in her arms and said things like,

“We’re all finished with your spanking now, sweet Danny. You’re my good little boy now, aren’t you? I know you learned a good lesson over my knee, didn’t you. Yes you did … yes you did. You’re Mrs. Bailey’s good little boy now. And you’re going to be on your best behavior so Mrs. Bailey doesn’t have to spank you again, aren’t you? That’s my good little boy. It’s clear that spanking helped a lot, didn’t it? Yes it did. If you behave like a naughty little boy again, you’re going to get another spanking on your bare fanny from Mrs. Bailey, aren’t you? Mrs. Bailey doesn’t like to spank you but sometimes she has no choice, does she? Are you going to be a good little boy for Mrs. Bailey from now on?”

At such moments, I hugged Mrs. Bailey tightly and cried with tears of pure release as I nodded to her various remarks and questions. That was the only part of a spanking I ever liked. Fortunately, both Mrs. Worthington and my mom also understood how important a long hug was for a naughty child after a spanking.

The other reason I cried more easily than the other older boys in Sunday School stemmed from the psychological effect of being with so many younger children. I always ended up feeling and acting three or four years younger than I was and enjoying every minute of it. I threw spitballs, played tickling games, passed mischievous notes, drew dirty pictures, tripped unsuspecting playmates, and, in short, joined in a full range of innocent mischief. As an only child, I suppose I took advantage of Sunday School and regressed a little. It was a chance to behave like a real kid without any serious consequences (other than an occasional sore bottom). We were even dressed like young children in Sunday School, the boys in shorts and bobby socks, the girls in white or pink blouses with little jumpers. Given this isolated, juvenile environment, it was easier to accept the more childish punishment of a spanking which other children could hear. Indeed, the semi-public spankings added greatly to the childish atmosphere and made me feel and act even more like a little boy. No wonder I cried like one when spanked.

My only real complaint about Sunday School was that Mrs. Worthington’s pretty young assistant, Melissa, didn’t handle the discipline. As excited as I was when a child disappeared into Mrs. Worthingtoin’s office, there was a world of difference between the older woman and the beautiful Melissa. From the moment sahe was hired (soon after I turned nine), such thoughts became my constant preoccupation, especially since I developed an immediate crush on her.

While I imagine I wasn’t the only nine year old Sunday School boy to imagine getting a spanking from Melissa, such thoughts quickly became the center of my fantasy life in and outside of Sunday School. The other women who spanked me (and the many who spanked me in my day dreams) all gave way in my imagination to Melissa. She was much younger than my mom or Mrs. Bailey yet still much older than me. She was also terribly sexy even though my nine year old consciousness had only the most vague sense of what “sexy” meant. At that age, it was mostly felt as an overwhelming crush which I did little to conceal in the hopes my affections, once noticed, would somehow be returned. Of course, Melissa barely noticed me outside Sunday School when our paths crossed. She was grown up with her own friends and activities. But that only made me more determined to win her affection. Most of the time, I could only pine in relative solitude, catching glimpses of her from afar and occasionally enjoying the experience of passing her on the street or in a school hallway. On Sundays, however, I had the luxury of a whole hour with the object of my affection. Needless to say, any contact or conversation with her thrilled me.

Even if spankings hadn’t intrigued me, I would have been thrilled when Melissa scolded me. In hindsight, I’m sure I got into more mischief just to provoke attention from her, regardless of what kind of attention that might be. In my little boy imagination, I was convinced she would somehow admire my mischief as a sign of independence and cleverness. She would recognize how special I was compared to the other children. She would realize how much I worshipped her and doubtless reward me with affection in return. Perhaps she would even nurse me at her breasts (which seemed even larger on such a short girl). Such are the hopes and dreams of a nine year old boy with a big crush on a pretty fifteen-year old at a time when a six-year age difference is both a huge chasm and a distance one imagines one can somehow cross.

Since I knew Melissa wasn’t allowed to spank, I would often misbehave a little in Sunday School to draw out warnings without overstepping the fine line and earning a trip to Mrs. Worthington. That way, I could earn a least the threat of a spanking from my beloved. (She often threatened to spank you herself.) Thus it wasn’t hard to provoke comments like,

“Danny Richardson, you behave yourself or I’ll come over there and give you a good spanking in front of everyone.”. Or she might say: “Danny Richardson, if you don’t watch out, I’m going to send you to Mrs. Worthington’s office for a good spanking on your bare bottom.”

By now, it should be clear why such words were both frightening and the sweetest music to my ears. Since Melissa couldn’t make good on her threats, I could enjoy them as wonderful possibilities rather than painful realities. And for a nine year old, there was always a delicious uncertainty, a faint possibility that Mrs. Worthington would be sick one day or too busy and would allow Melissa to handle the discipline for some other reason. Again it was the sense of possibility which was so appealing. The mere fact that such threats came from an older high school girl more than strong enough to carry out them out also gave them added power. So did the firmness in her voice which suggested she would have put me over her knee in an instant had this been allowed. On a few occasions when I had been roughhousing near her, Melissa had swiftly grabbed my arm, smacked my clothed bottom once, and warned me I was about to learn a very sound lesson if I kept it up. Later, I endlessly replayed the feeling of her strong grip and the impact of her hand and extended the imaginary drama into a full-blown spanking in front of the other children.

It was through Sunday School that my mother ended up hiring Melissa to babysit for me. On one Sunday a few weeks after I turned ten, Melissa caught me using a dirty word (“asshole”). Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have said something that bad in Sunday School but Johnny Watson hit me when no one was looking and quickly retreated beyond striking distance. In an angry moment, I told him off good in a soft whisper. Alas, Melissa’s sharp ears picked up the transgression and I was immediately sent to Mrs. Worthington’s office. As always after a spanking, Mrs. Worthington reported the matter to my mother when she came later to pick me up. Actually, she had Melissa tell mommy exactly what had happened before adding an account of my spanking. All of the other children had left by then and it was just the four of us in Mrs. Worthington’s office. I found myself looking at the ground with a very red face throughout the conversation. After listening to Melissa and Mrs. Worthington, mommy said,

“I want to thank both of you for responding so promptly to this kind of behavior which Danny knows is completely unacceptable. One of my strictest rules at home is the rule against foul language. It’s even more serious to use such language in church. Danny is going to get another sound spanking on his bare bottom as soon as he gets home. Do you understand me, young man? You promised me last month you wouldn’t use bad language again, didn’t you. Apparently the spanking you got then didn’t teach you to mind mommy, did it? You’re going to learn another lesson young man, just you wait. Melissa and Clara, if Danny ever uses such language again in Sunday School, I want you to take down his shorts and underpants and spank him right in front of the other children.”

“An excellent idea, Betty. I’m sure a little embarrassment would help Danny learn a good lesson. He’s getting to that age when boys hate to have their bottoms bared in front of others. Maybe I should let Melissa spank him next time. From what the mothers of the other Sunday School children tell me, Melissa is quite capable in that department as a babysitter.”

“Come to think of it, Clara, I’ve heard the same thing. And everyone tells me how well Melissa handles the children at Sunday School. It just so happens that my husband and I are looking for a new babysitter since Danny’s regular sitter, Sarah Cummings, got married and moved to Houston. Melissa, do you think you might be interested in sitting for Danny a few times this coming week?”

“Of course, Mrs. Richardson,” Melissa replied. “I’m always happy to earn a little extra pocket money. When would you like me to show up?”

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