Not so long ago, I lost my parents, and I had the unenviable task of clearing their lifetime’s possessions.
In a box, I discovered some old school reports of mine.
Among the papers and a dreadful school photo was a letter, written by my old junior school headmistress.
I had no idea my parents kept this stuff. Reading the letter made me cry.
I will paraphrase the contents towards the end of this story.
I read the stories on Maman with great interest – the following will explain why, and I cannot deny there my underlying interest in the subject matter.
My story begins with the actions of four vandals who broke into our school garden.
I was ten years old, in the last year of junior school.
My father had drummed this message into me as a child: “If you mess up, own up.” He taught me that those that sit in judgment will be more lenient if you own up to your sins.
Lie or cover up, and the punishment is usually harsher.
So, that’s my background – here’s what happened.
I was out of bounds. No question about it.
Hands up, I was in the wrong.
I was breaking school rules.
In the school garden, there was a pond and some chickens and rabbits.
Us younger ones grew vegetables and learned how to sow seeds.
I particularly enjoyed the greenhouse and the rabbits. I loved it out there.
However, unless you were with a teacher, the garden was out of bounds.
For any pupil found to be there without permission, the punishment was severe.
A minimum of four strokes of the cane, depending on circumstances.
Our headmistress, Mrs Hamilton, was a softly-spoken woman with a warm smile.
She had two daughters at our school.
Mrs Hamilton had only used the cane twice, to my knowledge, and both boys had cried.
I knew one of the boys as a real tough kid, so the cane must have hurt a lot to make him cry.
One day, I found a carrot in the street that I assume someone had dropped.
So I sneaked into the school garden and fed the rabbits.
While I was there, four older boys entered through the fence and knocked over a small tool shed.
They turned their attention to the chickens and let them out of their enclosure.
After damaging the shed, chicken hut and fence, they threw stones at the small greenhouse, breaking several windows. Most of the chickens escaped.
I knew who the boys were but I stayed well hidden.
I knew if they saw me, I’d get beaten up badly.
When I was sure they had gone, I ran home and kept quiet about what I had seen.
Well, all hell broke loose at school.
The damage was extensive and costly.
Letters were written to parents, trying to find out who was responsible.
The vandals had to be found and punished, and there were threats that the police may have to be involved.
The school teachers, and especially the headmistress, were out for blood.
My father’s words haunted me, and I wanted to do the right thing and tell what I had seen – but to own up would mean the cane.
Even if my father was right, and Mrs Hamilton was lenient, I could expect a minimum of four strokes. I was very scared of that prospect.
So here was my dilemma – I was upset at the loss of the chickens and the damage to the greenhouse but for me, the truth was going to hurt.
Finally, one Friday lunchtime, I made my decision.
I drifted away from my mates and made my way to the school secretary, who sat in an annexe outside the headmistress’s office.
The secretary also doubled up as the school nurse – if you felt unwell, she would give you something, and you could sit and wait until you felt better.
Then you were handed a note for your teacher to say where you had been.
With no-one around, I asked if I could speak to the headmistress.
The school secretary asked if I had a note from my teacher.
Usually, this would explain the reason you needed to see Mrs Hamilton. I shook my head – I didn’t want to tell her why I was there.
The secretary, who’s name was Judy, knocked on the head’s door and, putting her head in, asked Mrs Hamilton whether she could see me. I was ushered in, legs like jelly. I was shaking with fear!
The office smelled strongly of flowers or perfume, I’m now not sure which. Mrs Hamilton said: “Thank you, Judy”, and invited me to sit down.
“Now, what can I do for you, John?” she asked quietly and sympathetically.
I think she could see that I was scared out of my wits. I fought my fear, and wiped away a tear.
I admitted I had been out of bounds.
I explained as best I could that I had come to own up due to my father’s words of advice.
I told Mrs Hamilton I had seen the vandals. I gave her their names and descriptions, and also specified the time the attack had taken place.
During my account I cried intermittently, mostly to get sympathy, I suspect.
I told Mrs Hamilton I was scared that the boys would find out I had seen them, and I made a big deal of the fact I was being honest but could get badly beaten up.
I wiped more tears away, apologized for feeding the rabbits, and tried to look as feeble as possible.
Then I asked the million-dollar question: “Are you going to cane me, miss?”
Mrs Hamilton had listened carefully to my story, and now she stood up without speaking to me.
My eyes followed her, waiting for the first sign of the dreaded cane.
Instead, she went to the office door and opened it. I heard her say: “Judy, I am not to be disturbed under any circumstances until further notice.
Please write a note for John to take to his form teacher, that he has been here with us in the sickbay.”
Mrs Hamilton closed the door.
She walked to her desk and brought me a box of tissues.
I took one to dry my eyes, and she said: “Blow!” I blew my nose and looked sorry for myself.
“Tissue in the bin, please, John.”
She placed the bin next to me.
I was so nervous.
I expected the cane to appear at any moment.
Then my headmistress picked up the telephone, and I listened as she repeated my story to the headmaster of the senior school. The conversation didn’t last long. Mrs Hamilton then shuffled some papers and things on her desk before standing and coming back to look at me.
Mrs Hamilton sat in front of me. I am sure she could see how frightened I was! “I appreciate the fact that you have come forward, John,” she began. “It was very brave of you. I assure you absolutely no-one knows that you gave me the vandals’ names. The headmaster is calling their parents now, and the police are going to be informed. They will almost certainly be expelled from the school.”
There was a pause. Then: “I now have to decide what to do with you.” The pit of my stomach churned. Here it came, my sentencing!
“The school rules are clear, John – out of bounds in the vegetable garden is automatically a minimum of four strokes of the cane. The final number is down to my discretion.”
I asked what ‘discretion’ meant. Mrs Hamilton explained and I understood. I must have looked terrified – I certainly felt it.
“Under the circumstances, John, taking into account you have come forward, and that you have never been in trouble before, I have decided not to cane you.”
I began to cry again, this time with relief.
“However,” Mrs Hamilton added, “I cannot let the fact that you were out of bounds to go unpunished.
If I were to cane you, I would have to enter that officially into the school punishment book.
That entry could be held against you, which in your case would seem unfair.
What I can do is use my discretion.”
A pause. I waited for my sentence.
“If I give you a spanking, John, I do not need to record the punishment.
I think, under the circumstances, a good spanking is fair.
It will not appear on your school record.
I will, I’m afraid, have to write a note to your parents explaining my actions.
That is my final decision, – so, John, stand up please and remove your blazer.”
I was to be spanked. The fear factor dropped slightly – at least it wasn’t the cane.
Mrs Hamilton pointed to a coat stand, “Hang your jacket up on the hook, John.”
As I took it off, Mrs Hamilton moved the chair on which she had been sitting to a central position in front of her desk.
“Stand here, please, John.”
She pointed to the floor beside the chair.
She then took her own jacket off, together with her wristwatch.
Sitting on the chair, she began to roll her right sleeve up.
Standing beside her, I watched as she finished baring her spanking arm.
“Have you been spanked before, John?” she asked.
“”No, miss,” I answered, my voice no more than a croaky whisper.
“Never?” she asked.
I shook my head again.
“Very well – across my knee, please, John.”
I stepped forward, placed my hand briefly on her knee and bent forward.
“Pass me back your hand, John.”
I obeyed, and was surprised at how soft and warm Mrs Hamilton’s hand was as she took mine.
“You may not feel lucky for the next few minutes, John, but considering you are not on the receiving end of six of the best, you should be grateful for small mercies.
You may cry all you want – but I intend to make sure you think twice before going out of bounds again!”
And so it began. Mrs Hamilton spanked me, like a little boy across her knee!
She was right – I didn’t feel lucky at all.
Within seconds I was crying.
At first, that was partly the relief of not receiving the cane.
However, in no time at all, my tears, howls, yelps and pleading were down to purely to the pain of the smacking Mrs Hamilton was giving me.
It was agony.
One soft, warm hand held mine tightly as the other set fire to my bottom.
I bawled my eyes out.
I begged for it to stop.
I said I was sorry a hundred times.
But on and on it went.
The only time the spanking paused was when Mrs Hamilton adjusted me back into position.
Then she tightened her grip and resumed the punishment.
I kicked and twisted and wriggled like an eel until, eventually, I lost all my strength.
A last-ditch effort at escape failed and, I flopped, exhausted.
I sucked in a last lungful of air, released that with a gasp and cried like I’ve never cried before or since.
Mrs Hamilton carried on, machine-like.
The smacks landed hard and fast.
I lay still now but the fire raged behind me.
My vision was blurred, my brain scrambled, my nose ran and dribble flowed from my mouth.
It was excruciatingly painful.
I had no idea how four strokes of the cane would feel but at that moment, I could not imagine they would hurt more than the spanking Mrs Hamilton was administering.
I was in a total state when I realised the smacks had stopped, and I heard my headmistress’s voice.
“Do you think this spanking will remind you never to go out of bounds again, John?”
I tried to answer but words wouldn’t come out. I nodded and made a croaking noise.
Mrs Hamilton took that as a ‘yes’.
Then she added: “Good – let’s make sure.”
Another round of hard smacks punished my boiling red hot bottom.
All I could do was screw my eyes shut tight, and accept the extra punishment.
Finally, the spanking stopped and I hung limply over her knee, sobbing like a freshly-smacked toddler.
“John, listen carefully to my instructions.
I will lift you to your feet, and you will place your hands on your head.
You will then turn to face my desk.
If you try to rub your bottom better, I will put you back across my knee and give you another spanking.
Now, do you understand that, John?” I mumbled a reply.
Mrs Hamilton lifted me upright.
I felt a bit dizzy and weak after being upside down and spanked so soundly.
I have no idea how long the chastisement had lasted.
“Hands!” Mrs Hamilton said sternly, recalling me to my duty.
I placed my hands on my head, and she physically turned me by my shoulders to face the desk.
My bottom stung so much – it felt kind of numb but burning hot and tingling, all at the same time.
I wanted to rub it so badly!
Mrs Hamilton sat at her desk and started to write a note. Looking up, she warned me again:
“Stand still, John!”
Then it happened. The burning sting, the denial of relief by rubbing – I started to become aroused. I couldn’t believe it. I got an erection – certainly the first I remember – right in front of Mrs Hamilton. Looking up, she definitely saw the state of my penis but carried on with her note. She took her time, looking up occasionally to make sure I was standing still. Watching me squirm, she slowly folded the note and slipped it into an envelope.
At this point, the sting had reached its peak. I rubbed my legs together to try and get some relief – and was scolded immediately, “Stand still! I won’t tell you again!” I froze.
Mrs Hamilton stood up, walked around to the front of the desk and leaned back against it.
Mrs Hamilton rolled her sleeve back down slowly and replaced her wristwatch.
She had spanked me like a little child across her knee.
She had made me cry and beg for her to stop.
I stood there, fully exposed. “Well, John, I hope you’ve learned your lesson. You should consider yourself very fortunate indeed that this visit to see me has only ended in a spanking!”
I was offered another tissue and instructed to blow. I obeyed.
Mrs Hamilton walked around behind me. I didn’t dare move but I assume she was admiring her handiwork.
Mrs Hamilton watched me closely and said sternly:
“I sincerely hope I never have to discipline you again, John.
If I do, I will cane you – and that will make a smacked bottom across my knee seem like a picnic!”
She offered me another tissue, and I wiped my face.
Mrs Hamilton handed me the envelope and instructed me to give it to my parents as soon as I got home that afternoon.
She fetched my jacket for me and helped me dress
“Now, ask my secretary for the note for your teacher to explain why you are late for class. Off you go!”
The secretary, to my relief and her credit, did not comment.
However, it would have been impossible for her not to have heard or recognised what was happening to me inside her boss’s office.
I collected the note and gave it to my teacher.
My afternoon lessons were very uncomfortable, and concentrating was difficult because my bum was so sore.
My parents read the note Mrs Hamilton had written.
They praised me for being brave and coming forward, and they made no mention of my punishment for being out of bounds.
Now to the contents of the letter, which I found all those years later.
Mrs Hamilton explained that I had voluntarily come forward – due, she noted, to my dad’s excellent advice.
She also explained the school rule regarding the official minimum four-stroke penalty for my being out of bounds.
Mrs Hamilton went on to say she had reduced my punishment to a spanking because she could see that caning me would serve no useful purpose.
It would mean an entry in the school punishment book, which would blacken my otherwise excellent behaviour record.
She had requested my parents to take no further action against me, as she believed I had been punished sufficiently.
Interestingly, Mrs Hamilton said that I had taken my spanking bravely.
I’m not sure I would agree – I blubbed like a baby from the first to the last smack! And with good reason, in my opinion – that woman spanked me soundly!
She also commended my parents on their teaching that I should own up and face consequences.
Well, I had sobbed on that day I got my bottom throughly smacked.
But it was nothing to the tears I shed when I read that note as an adult.
Mum and Dad never spoke again about that note from Mrs Hamilton.
On the odd occasion that our paths crossed at school, she would always acknowledge me with a ‘good morning’ or say: “Hello, John – how are you?”
All warm and friendly – but I knew now there was another side to Mrs Hamilton and I never wanted to see that side again!