I grew up in France during the 1970s and was raised by my single mother. I was energetic when younger, and my mother loved and spoiled me whenever she could. However, I also had to live by her strict rules, and disobeying them often resulted in firm discipline!
My experience of corporal punishment was pretty typical of the time. When I was a little older, after a serious misdemeanor, I received my first formal, over-the-knee, spanking. From this point on, I was disciplined in this manner as and when my mother saw fit. Several months after this particular incident, my spankings escalated to a new level.
Mum had canceled a visit to my cousins’ home after her car broke down. We could have used the public transport to go but it was quite a lengthy trip and Mum was tired after a hard-working week. I was really disappointed at not being able to go and threw a tantrum, which had no effect – Mum would not change her mind. I then ran to my bedroom and angrily slammed the door. If Mum had felt sorry for me at first, this dispelled all sympathy.
She came to my bedroom and I realized that her compassion had gone – slamming doors was a big ‘no no’ in our house. Mum sat on my bed and dragged me face down over her knee. A dozen hard, rapid smacks rained down on my bottom.
When she had finished, Mum asked me if I had something to say to her. I should have answered with a sincere apology, as I was of course supposed to, but my frustration overcame my feelings of remorse. Between two sobbing hiccups, I muttered the French equivalent to an expletive. I must have underestimated the level of my reply because Mum – calmly but no less furious – asked me: “What did you just say?”
Suddenly, scared by the likely consequence of my rudeness, I answered with a genuine ‘sorry’, realizing I really had done something naughty. I felt Mum’s chest pressing against my back along with her left arm, which was holding me in position. Her right leg was moving, too, for a reason, I couldn’t figure. I finally managed to turn my head backward and was surprised to notice Mum was wearing only one of her slippers.
While I was wondering where her missing right slipper could be, I heard a loud ‘whack!’ – which was followed by a shooting pain across my backside. Before I could even react, Mum was once again crashing the sole of her removed slipper against my already sore bottom. I began crying and howling like I never had before and would have apologized for every crime in the world in order to stop the continuous walloping of her slipper.
I can’t remember how long my first slippering lasted or how many smacks I got, but after Mum left me, confined to my room, I fell asleep almost instantaneously. After an unexpected nap of about two hours, I went to Mum, told her I was deeply sorry, and was hugged for several minutes. She told me I was never to use foul language again, but I was now forgiven.
Thus began a long history of regular meetings with my mother’s slippers!