I grew up in northern Italy in the 80s, as the only child in a fairly middle-class family. Although spanking was definitely looked on as old-fashioned by that time – indeed, my mother was unashamedly old-fashioned – such discipline didn’t attract the stigma or indeed the state intervention that it would today. However, the incident I’m describing here is not about me but about a friend of mine and his formidable mother. Luca and his family came to live near our house during the summer. Luca was a year older than me. Luca’s father was a senior officer in the military and often abroad, and so he spent most of his time at home with his mom, a tall, full-figured, and quite an attractive lady in her late 30s. Luca was an intelligent, good-spirited boy and we soon became friends. We went to the same school, although he was in the year above me – and we usually walked to and from our lessons together. I had already noticed that Luca was a very obedient boy and that just a look from his mother was enough to settle him down if he was ‘getting out of hand’, as she would put it. This particular day, my parents went out to dinner with my father’s colleagues, and I was due to have dinner at Luca’s and stay there until my parents came to collect me. We boys spent the afternoon riding our bikes, then we found a creek that ran along a path not too far away from our houses. We caught crayfish and frogs in the pond. Then, somehow, we got into a splashing contest, and we both ended up pretty wet. We were expected back at Luca’s well before dinner but with all our playing and having fun, time got away from us. When we realized it was already nearly seven, we hurried back home. We rode our bikes to Luca’s house and all the way home, he urged me to go quicker – he looked so worried! When at last we got to Luca’s house and walked into the kitchen, Luca’s mom was standing there, waiting for us, hands on her hips. “Do you realize what time it is?” she demanded. “You know the rules in this house – you are to be home by six-thirty – and clean, and at the dinner table, by seven.” Her voice got louder and angrier at every word. “And you are not supposed to play in that creek full of mud and nasty animals. Didn’t I already tell you all this ?” Luca looked down at the kitchen floor but managed to reply quietly: “Yes, mother” I realized that he knew he was in deep trouble now. Luca’s mom pointed to the clock – it was now seven-thirty and we were an hour late. She scolded us about breaking curfew, messing up our clothes, and going where we were not supposed to go. Finally, she said: “Go into the living room and wait for me.” When we got there, Luca was white as a sheet. I looked at him and whispered: “Do you think your mother is gonna punish you?” He blushed a little but just said: “Yes.” I felt a lump in my own throat, a mixture of pity for my friend and fear for myself. Luca’s mom returned to the living room carrying a towel and some of my friend’s clothes. She ordered me to go to the bathroom, dry myself off and change into them. I dared not disobey, so I did as I was told, stripped and dried myself. I began to put on my friend’s clothes – they were slightly too big for me, as Luca was larger than me and a bit chubby, but at least they were dry. While I was changing, I began to hear the unmistakable sound of a sound spanking, along with my playmate’s yells. I stood there for a moment not knowing what to do. On the one hand, I was scared to leave the bathroom but on the other, my curiosity to see my friend being punished was very strong. I had never seen anyone spanked before and I often imagined exactly how some of my friends were punished. So I tiptoed out of the bathroom until I could just see around the living room door. The sight which greeted my eyes was Luca over his mother’s knee. She was delivering a series of powerful slaps on his upturned bottom. I stood there frozen after she laid spank after spank. Luca was crying his eyes out, telling his mom that it hurt, promising to be a good boy forever and ever, and pleading with her to stop. My own mother sometimes used a hairbrush on me but Luca’s mother had no need for one. Her muscular arm and broad, hard hand were definitely doing their job and the spanks sounded severe. Luca by now resembled a much younger boy, almost like a naughty toddler getting his first spanking. He was no longer able to speak properly, he just blubbered incoherently. Only at that point did his mother let him up. His mother looked at him with a slightly amused expression on her face, which was reddened with the exertion of spanking her son. However, it was nowhere near as red as my friend’s. Luca’s face was scarlet with sobbing, his eyes were still full of tears and his mouth still wide open with crying. His mother rose from the chair and opened her arms. Luca rushed into her embrace and spent some time crying whilst his mother hugged him. While he was there, I went back to the bathroom quickly and finished changing. When I got back into the living room, my friend was still in his mother’s arms. When the sobbing at last subsided, she told him to follow my example, to go to the bathroom and get dry and changed. Luca obeyed her and walked out of the room. His mother pointed at his well-smacked bottom and said to me: “I hope your mother does the same for you when I tell her what a bad boy you’ve been.” I was unable to utter a word. I just stood and nodded, trying to avoid eye contact with that awesome lady. Needless to say, I didn’t escape punishment either. Once my mother heard what had happened, her hairbrush came out and was used to good effect.