"The Green Mile"
Well, the countdown has begun, I have started to mentally prepare myself for my impending doom! In 7 days I will be meeting you in person, meeting my "Excecutioner" so to speek. My transition to the "Other Side" rests with you. You have the responsibility of making it smooth or "Very,Very" hard........ I'm starting to think that maybe I have made a mistake in taunting you a bit. I hope that you will take into consideration my lack of experience, and give me credit for "Really Really" being a good boy...... I have been thinking about my "Last" meal on Saturday night and have decided that something plain and lite would be best, as I will undoubtedly have a nervous stomach.......I've so looked forward to my last meal and joked about it many times, 3 eggs over medium, a New York strip medium, crispy hash browns, sliced tomatoes, and dry sourdough toast. I would have coffee with lots of sugar,and cream, and a large glass of OJ. I would also need some apricot preserves, tobasco sauce,and some worchestershire sauce and a toothpick.......See I have thought about it!....... but after careful considerations I think I need to go light....... As I make my "Last"phone call, and I hear "COME TO ROOM ???" I 'll be glad of the choice I made.........I hope as I look down the long, dark, lonely corridor..... "The Green Mile" that leads to your room, that my knees don't buckle, or I break down....... that I can "take it like a man"....... sorry.. boy! That I can suck it up and knock,knock,knock on that door... Please be gentle..... oh administrator of my destiny...........he,he,he.
Its raining super super hard here.
Lightning n thundering.
Its suddenly dark n gloomy.
Beefy red bottoms
Black n blue bottoms
Is nice to see n it does not scare me one bit.
It only makes me happy with satisfaction but thunder and lightening scare the crap out of me.
Thank u for sharing :))
This story did happen in the Fall of 1980. I was in 6th grade.
Corporal punishment in school is an interesting topic. Obviously, for those of us who attended those schools, there is a shared experience. For most of us, it was just " the way it was" and I honestly don't know anyone who thought, at the time, that it was wrong or unfair. We were told by our parents to behave in school and that a teacher better not ever have to call home to report some misdeed. If so, we would have been lucky to dodge a spanking. In regard to getting paddled at school, it was simple. If you did not want to get spanked at school, don't be a knucklehead.
But, for those who did not attend those schools, particularly for people younger, it can be hard to believe this was ever the way it was. I can tell you that it most definitely was...
Now, it should be said that when I was coming along, things were already changing. There were new limits on number of swats, a witness had to be present( usually), the paddles at many schools no longer had holes. That sort of thing. You, dear reader,may laugh,but, those changes were for the better. I was told many stories from older cousins, friends older brothers or sisters, babysitters etc....we had it MUCH better than they did! In fact, it was also eliminated at the high school in town before my crowd got there. That was big news when that headline appeared. Eventually, it was abolished for all grades in my area probably 10-12 years after I graduated high school.
But, it remained in elementary and middle school for our crowd. I am aware of several that happened in elementary school, but, it was not nearly as common there as it was at middle school. First of all, it should be said, the ages of 11-14 are not that easy and many kids have trouble behaving during that time. Starting middle school as a 6th grader, I can remember being amazed how brazen and disrespectful the 7th and 8th graders could be. It was different. And, I have to admit, sort of impressive.
As you might expect, the middle school teachers knew this was coming. Some handled it more the way teachers might nowadays. But, many, would paddle quickly for shows of blatant disrespect. There were certain teachers. You just could not screw with them. And, we all knew who they were. Those events are definitely worth a read but I will save those for another time.
What many people find fascinating today, when looking back, is that certain misdeeds automatically would result in a paddling. Did not matter who you were or how well behaved otherwise. I understand that can be hard to "get" in a 2014 way of thinking. But, times were different.
The offense that could snare pretty much anybody was fighting. First, it did not take much. Any sort of disagreement that turned the slightest amount physical could be deemed fighting. And, there was a lot of tension.
Please understand, I grew up in a state that had desegregated schools 5 years before I started school. I was in the 5th kindergarten class post that event. So, while I was not in school during the really crazy time of change, MANY things still were being worked out. It is crazy to think that those administrators/teachers all handled those changes perfectly or the same way they would have years later. Everyone was learning.
You see, what gets historical attention is the impact on the students. But, consider the teachers/ administrators. There were African American teachers/principals who had spent 15-20 years at an all black school. Now, they were having to deal with the racial issues. The white students were different. Their attitudes and experiences were different. Their parents were different. The exact same was true for the white teachers/principals. They were now having to deal with the racial issues. The black students were different. Their attitudes and experiences were different. Their parents were different.
When you consider that few things can raise a temper quicker than racial conflict and/or issues involving a person's child, you can see those folks were all in a tough spot.
So, this brings us to the subject of fighting. It does not take a rocket scientist to question the strange lesson being taught when physical violence is punished with more physical violence. That question is logical thinking and it has thankfully made its way into the school way of looking at these things. But, back then, spanking was just part of life. I don't know anyone that I grew up with who was not spanked as a child. My wife and I are the same age and she grew up in a town 100 miles away. She does not know anyone she grew up with who was not spanked as a child.
The attitude at the schools reflected that. So, what do you do with a problem that HAD to be gotten under control? There were too many fights. Not all racial, but enough were. How as an administrator could you "judge" who was to blame? How would YOU do that, dear reader? Try to figure out who started it? Define that. Try to punish who punched the hardest? Define that. Ask the other students? Impossible. Support too often went straight down racial lines without any regard for the truth.
A white teacher could not be seen as "blaming" a black student. The black teachers could not be seen as "blaming" a white student. And, if either "blamed" the kid of their same race they likely had an entire set of new problems.
So, the policy that was adopted was "zero tolerance". Don't fight. We were all told repeatedly. The first day of school. And, again other times. We all knew what the rule was. You get caught fighting, you will be paddled.
The event below remains burned in my brain for several reasons, most of which will become clear as you read. But, also, because this is the FIRST event like the below that I ever experienced. We had just started 6th grade, probably been there a month, 6 weeks tops. For us, this meant we were now at the middle school with the 7th and 8th graders. It also meant that we were meeting a bunch of new friends for the first time as there were two other elementary schools that fed into the same middle school.
Barbara Cole was in my 6th grade class with Miss Graves. Miss Graves was in her mid 50s and still lived with her mother. She was fat. Not healthy at all. She was so pale it appeared that she might keel over at any moment. Some kids would refer to her as "soon to be in" or "heading toward" as a fun way of poking fun at her health and unfortunate last name. As a teacher, she was pretty good and our class was actually a "tiered" group of kids, which meant we were all pretty smart. As a result, we did not have the discipline problems that were obviously happening in many of the other classes. Middle school was clearly different from the very beginning.
Now, we still had fun. Miss Graves was an easy target and the more brazen of us pushed her from the beginning. Barbara Cole was one of those kids. I had never met anyone like her. She had come from one of the other elementary schools. She had pretty blonde hair. Her face was not beautiful,but, she had a very cute personality which made her seem pretty cute. Great smile. And, she wore Jordache jeans almost every day. Let's just say it was one of the first times I remember noticing the kind of jeans a person was wearing. We all noticed. Even the other girls. Soon enough, they were also wearing Jordache jeans.
Miss Graves and Barbara had tension from the beginning. Or, Miss Graves did. She was always calling Barbara down for talking and/or telling her to get to her seat. Most of us would respond to that sort of reprimand with a blushed face and quickly following the instructions. Not Barbara. She would just smile right back at Miss Graves and all of us too. It was a trip. I had never seen a girl so openly defiant. But, she was not ugly about it. So, she never really got in any serious trouble, initially. I am guessing the happy demeanor played a part.
Still, Miss Graves clearly did not consider Barbara one of her favorites. Pretty quickly, she started to get more nasty with her verbal sparring with Barbara. This was long before political correctness or not embarrassing a child. Teachers could and would embarrass you very quickly if you gave them a chance. This was also long before tattoos or piercings on various parts of the body. Therefore, Barbara's tight Jordache jeans and "unladylike" attitude were " pushing the envelope" as far as Miss Graves was concerned. Again, she was probably 55 going on 75 in regard to her thinking of the world. One time and, again, this was very early in the school year, she told Barbara to sit down or she would take her paddle to "those tight jeans you are wearing." I was shocked. I did not even know it was realistic for a girl to get paddled at school (there were none at my elementary school) and had never really heard it threatened that way in front of everyone (did not happen in elementary but I later learned happened all the time in middle school). The reference to a spanking on tight jeans was also sort of a PG thing in my, to that point, G rated world. But, Barbara again just laughed it off. She looked right at me and smiled and I thought she was possibly the coolest girl I had ever met. She happily took the long way back to her seat. She eventually sat and the crisis was averted.
One of the reasons middle school kids often found themselves in the sort of trouble that led to paddlings was that we were given more freedom. Elementary school had been very rigid. No freedom. In 6th grade, we did NOT change classes like the 7th and 8th graders did. But, we did have lockers. This, of course, was the first time. So, each of us had this tiny little area of real estate that was "ours" and we could keep our stuff. So, there was a tendency to get a bit territorial.
We could check our lockers before class, before and after lunch, and then one more time middle part of the afternoon which was brilliantly known as "locker break". As you might expect, even though locker break was no more than 5 minutes, most kids would instead use that time to congregate with friends and just pretend to either put something away or get something out of the locker.
Sure enough, for me and a lot of the other boys, I had an incredibly hard time even remembering my combination. I just did not use it enough. Like many boys, I was not very organized, did not want to be, and so the value of a locker was almost completely lost on me at that age.
Barbara, on the other hand, had essentially created a little house. She is probably an interior decorator today, out there in the world somewhere. Our lockers were across the hall from each other as these things tended to be decided alphabetically. She had areas, there were dividers. She had pretty ribbons. She had little stuffed animals in there. She had a hair band seemingly for every day of the month. She had created her own little space and very much liked having it.
Torri Graham was an African American girl I had known since kindergarten. She was really big and strong. I was one of the fastest kids at my elementary school, but, Torri would win our races half the time. I liked her and she liked me. But, she did not like a lot of people. Torri was not in our class with Miss Graves. And, her locker was not near mine and Barbara's.
However, one day as we went to locker break, I noticed that Torri and two of her friends were sort of in a circle around the area of Barbara's locker. I did not pay it much mind as I was probably focused on trying to remember my locker combination. As I fiddled with the lock, I heard some tension behind me. I saw that Barbara could not get to her locker because of how Torri and her friends were congregating. I heard Barbara say something like "let me by" and I very clearly heard Torri say "that she was talking" and that Barbara would "have to wait". That was not necessarily Barbara's personality, and, I heard her say louder to "get out of the way". Torri turned and looked down on Barbara (Torri was really big) and told her very aggressively to wait "like I told you to."
Now, here, was where Barbara was supposed to cower down, go get the teacher, and essentially tattle on Torri. That was how the rules at the time would have liked her to have resolved this. It was clear that Barbara did not want to fight with Torri and it was also clear that it might happen. Instead of leaving the scene, Barbara sort of aggressively put her face toward the other two girls and told THEM that they should move or she would report them to the teacher.
This was a mistake.
Tattletales were never high on the respect ladder and certainly not ones that had threatened to play that card in a scene that was already tense. Torri took her open hand and flat out walloped Barbara across the head. It was the hardest punch I had seen at that point of my life. Barbara sort of fell back toward the lockers and Torri connected with the other hand. Barbara's books came sliding across the hall toward my locker and one of her sandals actually fell off to as she slid toward floor. If she had stayed down, it probably would have ended there, but, she tried to get up and grabbed hold of Torri's shirt. Torri was still wildly swinging and connected again. As Barbara tried to get fully back to her feet, her tight grip ripped Torri's shirt, exposing her bra. Which was a BIG deal at the time . As Mr. Jennings (Torri's teacher from across the hall) came along to break it up, he saw both girls engaged and that Barbara still had part of Torri's shirt in her hand.
Mr Jennings separated both girls. He ordered all of us back to our classes as he turned to talk to Torri (his student). Barbara turned and followed us back into Miss Graves classroom and we all sat. The entire room was abuzz and I remember just sitting there, looking at Barbara, and being amazed by the whole thing.
Now, my desk was the first one beside the hallway door. As I said earlier, many things in our school were done alphabetically. As a result, I often was assigned that desk. So, I could not SEE anything happening in the hallway. But, with the door open, I could HEAR most anything.
Miss Graves had missed the fight but was now aware that something had happened. She went out into the hall and I could hear she and Mr. Jennings talking. I did not hear Torri but my guess is she was still there. Shortly, Miss Graves quickly came back in the class. I noticed right away that her face had color and she seemed angry. She looked right at Barbara and said, "Miss Cole, I will see you out in the hall!". Barbara did not smile this time as she rose and headed toward the hall. Her face started to redden and it turned a completely darker shade as we all saw Miss Graves open a cabinet and retrieve her paddle.
Barbara exited the room into the hallway and Miss Graves followed behind with a white wooden paddle in her hand. Who knows why it was painted, but, it clearly was. I could hear them talking but could not make out everything. I do remember that there was no time given for "sides of the story". It was also clear that Miss Graves was in no way going to support Barbara. It seemed clear to me that she was making this last action out to just be another in a list of misbehavior. And, that she thought Barbara deserved a paddling.
I guess it was due to Miss Graves lack of physical prowess. But, Mr. Jennings paddled both girls with Miss Graves as the witness. Torri went first. I could hear him tell her something about standing on a line, bending over, and touching the wall. Quickly enough, the silence was interrupted by a loud smack. All eyes in our classroom virtually popped out of our skulls. You see, all wooden paddle spankings at our elementary school had been done in private. Principals office or teachers study. The sound happening a few feet from us was very surprising and amazing. The acoustics in the school hallway doing nothing but making the sound louder and clearer. Torri took swat 2 quietly from what I could tell but I definitely heard a whimper and followed by an "owwww" that she seemed trying hard to suppress as the final swat stung her bottom.
Mr Jennings then told Barbara to get in the same position. She definitely resisted because I clearly heard Miss Graves tell her "not to pull that crap, this is going to happen". Then, Mr. Jennings (he had a deep voice so it was easier to hear what he was saying) told her to step out of her sandles. They were a flat wood on the bottom, which was popular then. I guess he did not want her sliding around on the linoleum hallway floors as he was trying to whack her fanny.
I guess she complied because there was again silence, then " smaaaack". Barbara instantly cried out in a very high pitched voice squealing "owwwww!" The second swat was instant and sounder louder, and then when the 3rd one blistered into her butt Barbara made a shocked sound like she had burned herself and then collapsed into tears.
There was another minute or two lecture, with Miss Graves doing the talking. I could not hear much of that. I could still hear Barbara crying and really felt very sorry for her. Pretty quickly, Miss Graves came back in the class with her paddle in hand and a satisfied look on her face. She returned it to the cabinet home. Barbara followed a few seconds behind, trying to stifle tears. Her face was beet red and her hair was stuck to her face from tears. She had one hand unashamedly grabbing her behind and one hand out like it seemed to be steadying her from falling. Her breathing was heavy as she passed me. Once she reached her seat, she put her head down and softly cried into her desk with her hair creating an umbrella of protection from the curious eyes.
Barbara did finish that school year with us. And, she did give Miss Graves far less grief. She did not get in ANY more trouble that I remember. I don't think it was related, but, Barbara's family moved out of town the following summer. I never heard from her again.
To her credit, it did seem that the spanking allowed Miss Graves to "wipe the slate clean" where Barbara was concerned. She held no grudge, never embarrassed her about it, and it seemed like she may have even liked her a bit better from that point forward.
We never saw Miss Graves' white paddle again the remainder of that year.
But, we heard Mr. Jennings use his paddle many times on our peers.
Story by Kevin...."6th Grade"
Thanks for sharing Kevin!
This happened in the early 80s, in the Upstate of South Carolina. School paddling was still common at that time. These days, it is not allowed at the schools I attended. In fact, it was in "decline" when I was in school. So, yes, we had it better than our older brothers/sisters/aunts/uncles etc. as change was happening, it was not as common, and the spankings were not quite as severe. Still, it happened. And, it was always fascinating and intense.
I was a good student. I liked school. When I got in trouble, it was usually just for talking. And, I seemed to know when to stop. Still, I was threatened with a paddling many times, as many of us were. What some folks forget is that threatening a paddling can be very effective discipline. However, for a threat to be effective it means somebody has to actually get it.
Paddling during that era at my school was similar to what I have read about and learned of other places. It is true that it seemed to usually be the same kids, over and over. Not interested in school, hyper, the "bad seeds". Many in this group experienced swats a couple of times a year.
However, the "others" were not immune. Just less common. It was always big news when a "good kid" got it. Yes, girls were "eligible" to get it at my school. But, it was rare. And, when a girl got paddled it was usually for committing one of the "automatic" offenses. Those were fighting, smoking, and skipping class. It was huge news if a "good girl" got paddled.
By the time I graduated, I had 11 good friends. We were very much a group. All of us came from good families. All of us were pretty smart and went on to graduate from college; we now have pretty wives and nice families. We were pretty good kids and liked to have fun. But, out of that 12, all but one of us endured the wooden paddle at school, at least once during our schooling. So, it could happen to good kids. Especially boys.
Out of that group, I was the last one to get it. I had made it all the way to the Spring of my 7th grade year. Warnings, yes, but nothing more. In our area, a recent big news event was that corporal punishment had been removed at the high school. As a result, I was almost "through the gauntlet" so to speak. But, I did not quite make it.
The principal at our school was a lady by the name of Grace Clarkston. She was probably mid to upper 50s. Very slender, very serious, very Southern. She had actually been my Principal at elementary school too. Her hair was blondish then but was now full gray. She had left, I believe, when I was in 4th grade to go to the middle school, the same one I attended two years later. So, by the time I had finished 8th grade (the next year) she had been my principal all but 2 years of my schooling.
In our area, a female principal was still a "new thing". This was before the Susan B Anthony coin. Mrs. Clarkston got her job at my elementary school before Sandra Day O'Connor's appointment and Margaret Thatcher's time in power. She was a small part of the change that was happening in our world at that time.
One reason females were not considered for leadership positions in our area at that time, is that it was believed they would be "too emotional". Far better for a man to be in charge as he would be able to dispense wisdom without emotion, or so that was the bs thinking of the time. Looking back, it is clear that this warped thinking was not news to Mrs. Clarkston. And, she was far too qualified to allow some sexist bs stand in her way. So, she was essentially a robot when interacting with us. She intentionally avoided pleasantries and/or anything "touchy/feely". When we were kids, we thought she was just "mean". Looking back, it makes much more sense. She had to be that way.
I did, however, have more of a relationship with her than most. Not to say that we were close. Just that she had been my principal for so long. In addition, in elementary school I had been asked to be part of a special project with a few other kids when I was in 3rd grade. We were able to leave the general class once a week and go into this little room and work on presentations and things that were ultimately part of a school performance later in the year. Our "teacher" for this group was Mrs. Clarkston. So, I did have many interactions with her in a small group. She certainly knew me pretty well. Knew I was a good student. Probably liked me ok back then. But, of course, you never knew with her.
One of the most memorable events with Mrs. Clarkston was the annual speech she gave, and she gave it to each grade, at the beginning of the year once we got to middle school. We always sat in the bleachers in the gym. She always stood in the same exact spot on the gym floor. I heard her give pretty much this exact same speech 3 times (6th, 7th, and 8th grades). She would welcome everyone in. Robotically state that she hoped we had a good summer. But, "now it was on to business". She would mention some of the things that were planned for the year. In the case of a cool field trip on the schedule, she might even appear to get excited for a brief moment. However, the excitement quickly passed.
She ended each speech the same way. Each year. "We take discipline very seriously here. Know this. If you fight at my school (she said "fight" with such a southern accent that it almost sounded like she was saying "fat") you will get a spankin'. If you smoke at this school, you will get a spankin'. If you cut class at this school, you will get a spankin'. Any questions??"
There never were. With that, the new school year would begin...
So,in our middle school, she was definitely seen as the detached, maternal leader of our school. Although we knew she was involved with discipline, at times, it was very much the assistant principal's primary role. Mr. Stanbach was someone everybody wanted to avoid. He was a well-built black man. He wore glasses, his hair slightly graying at the temples. He had played a sport in college, but I don't remember which one. He was far more engaged than Mrs. Clark, but, I would not say that made him any more approachable, certainly not in my eyes. He would talk to you, would joke around, on occasion. However, he very quickly would change back into his "administrator" role. Too quickly, it seemed, at times. His common statement was "do what u sposed to do". Said it all the time. And, he very quickly would remind anyone that a trip to his office would not end up well. The offender would be "fired up" quickly. You see, I am sure Mr. Stanbach was intelligent and qualified. I am sure he did other things. But, to us, his sole purpose in life seemed to be to tear up a tender rear end. Nobody, and certainly not me, had any interest in getting a paddling from Mr. Stanbach.
But, they most definitely happened. The rumors and gossip were there. But, when a kid was sent to the office there was really no way for certain to know what had happened to them. That, of course, was very different from when teachers would spank a student. That would be done in the hallway, right outside the class. Everyone knew who was getting it, heard them getting it, and saw them slowly make their way back to class afterward with an impossibly red face. Those experiences were certainly fascinating.
However, I never had that experience. Many of my friends did. I was in class several times when a peer was escorted to the hall for 3 good swats. I am sure it was no fun.
As bad as that had to have been, however, the office was the real fear. Primarily, because it was almost certain that Mr. Stanbach would be administering the discipline. The truth is that some of the teachers were not in terribly good shape, not that athletic, and so it was possible to get "swats" from one of them that would not be too bad. There was no chance of that with Mr. Stanbach.
During the year in question, I actually became somewhat of an expert on "happenings" in the office. During 7th grade, we were required to take Home Economics. I hated it. As I said, I actually liked the normal school subjects as I could see a later practical purpose. I saw no such future with what we "learned" in Home Economics. The school administrators must have also known. Evidence was in a "privilege" that myself and other students had earned that year. If one had good grades and good conduct marks, you could be nominated to be an "office assistant" for one 9 week period. This meant two things. First, you went to be the office assistant INSTEAD of going to Home Economics during that class period. That was pretty big. But, you also were now "inside the castle walls" so the speak.
So, I was the "office assistant" during the second quarter of my 7th grade year. So, that would have been Fall, the Christmas period, and the first part of January or so. It was a lot of fun. First, I was not in class. Second, I got to know the secretaries and other office personnel pretty well. I learned their husband's names, what their kids were doing, hometowns etc. At the time, it seemed like special knowledge for a 7th grader to have. In turn, they knew things about me. My favorite sports teams, my sister's name. My girlfriend at the time.
One person in particular was especially cool. Miss Lawson must have been a grad student. I am embarrassed to say that I don't know exactly what her purpose was. She was very young compared to everyone else there (probably 22-24). And so, even though she was probably 10 years or so older than me, we were much closer in age than the others. Noone else would have been less than 40. She liked the same music as me, we pulled for the same college in sports. She lived not far from where I had previously lived and she knew some of my former babysitters pretty well. We talked a lot. I very much enjoyed seeing Miss Lawson when I was there. I don't think it was a crush, necessarily. She was attractive but was no knockout. Still, I definitely liked her. She had a great laugh. And, for some reason I was able to make her laugh. That was a pretty cool thing for a 7th grade boy.
One of the best parts about this job was that I suddenly had all of this freedom. At that age, freedoms are gradually being given. But, we were still very much under the eye of teachers most of the time. However, being the "office assistant" also meant I was their errand boy. I would be sent to fetch a kid when his parents were there to pick him up early. Or, to get a message to a teacher about something.
The freedom was intoxicating. Free to roam the halls, go see what your friends were doing. It was very cool.
Now, one of the things that I now find interesting about that era is the premise of a "hall pass". Yes, in order to be out in the halls when class was in session, you needed to have a "hall pass" to prove you had permission. As the office assistant, I had a badge which served as my "pass". But, most teachers actually used their paddle as the hall pass. So, it was not unusual to see kids walking down the hall with a paddle that said "Mrs. White Hall Pass" on it. Using the paddle as the pass had two purposes. One, the dual purpose meant there was one less thing to keep up with. Two, and perhaps most important, the student with the "hall pass" and "freedom" that came along with it, had a very tangible reminder in his or her hand of what abuse of that freedom could lead to…..
The daily drama in the office was very interesting. Yes, there was gossip. Tons of it. Yes, I learned for the first time just how silly adults could be about that sort of thing. But, the most dramatic events would be the office paddlings.
It was probably 2 times a week. I would say maybe 15-20 total over the 9 weeks I was in there. You could always tell. If a teacher brought them to the office, you could usually tell by the expressions of both student and teacher. On 3 occasions, I was actually sent to get a student out of class for them to report to the office for an immediate paddling. That walk down the hallway back to the office was always silent and I could very much sense the tension building in my classmate on his way to justice.
They would go down a little hallway back to Mr. Stanbach's office. The experience was usually pretty brief. We would hear the door close, and then there would be 2-3 minutes of silence. I was really surprised how much the secretaries would talk about it, at times, and other times seemed to not even think about or be aware of what was getting ready to happen. I guess they just got busy.
Almost always the main secretary (Mrs Williams or Willingham, I can't remember) would be called back as a witness.
Back in the office lobby, there were times when comments would be made about the offender's family. References to older siblings who either were just as bad a few years before or were much better behaved, and thus it a complete shock that "John Doe" was there to be spanked. Occasionally, the secretaries seemed to slightly enjoy it because the kid "had it coming". Other times there was obvious sadness when a usually pretty well behaved kid was in for it. Especially if they were 6th graders or particularly fragile looking. Mr. Stanbach did not seem to go easy on anyone and only the toughest kids came out of his office without a tear stained face or openly crying.
No matter how much chatter had been going on, all activity stopped during the 10-15 seconds when a student was being paddled. The "smack" was just so loud. There was some curiosity in regard to how many and how the kid would handle it. I rarely actually heard any yelps or cries. But, the sound of wooden paddle slapping a misbehaving backside was clear and unmistakeable.
After, we in the office would try to pretend like we were not looking toward the student who was now hurriedly leaving the office. The student's face was always SO red with humiliation and usually had evidence of some crying. We would all shuffle papers and look away. But, we all pretty much looked back toward the scene out of the corner of our eyes as well. It was just too interesting. As the freshly paddled would exit the office, it almost seemed that you could see burning bottom glowing with heat through their jeans as they turned to leave.
Even though I did a pretty good job as office assistant, I still never really had any sort of meaningful conversation with Mr. Stanbach or Mrs. Clarkston. I had no interest in talking with Mr. Stanbach, I just thought he was a jerk. I sort of thought I might talk to Mrs. Clarkston more than I did. We had known each other so long I felt like she would have been more cordial. But, I just don't think it was her way. These days, my kids have female principals. They are able to be tough and lead. But, they also hug the kids and get excited about cool things the students do. Mrs. Clarkston was nothing like that. No emotion. Ever.
All too soon, my office assistant period was over. I was bummed to be headed back to Home Economics. And, I especially missed my conversations with Miss Lawson. I distinctly remember trying to figure out a way to talk to her again. I had no way of knowing that we would be seeing each other again very soon.
So, PE during 7th grade was also an interesting time. I was pretty good at all sports, so I liked PE. But, 7th grade had brought a new dimension. We had to "dress out" for PE. So, for many of us, this was the first time undressing in front of people. Showers were not required, thank God, but getting down to undies was still quite the experience. We all had to wear the same thing for PE. School issued blue T shirt and light gray shorts. The school colors. As you might imagine, the garments were very thin to save money.
One reason for the mental trauma in the locker room was that a lot of physical development is happening during this time. But, not at the same pace for everyone. So, not only was there potential embarrassment due to undressing, but there also was the very real evidence that you might still be a little boy or girl when others were becoming much more grown up. It was a significant source of tension. In our case, the 7th and 8th graders would be dressing at the same time. So, that meant the room was very crowded. It meant there was a lot of bawdy talk in the room. And, it meant that there was even some "showing off" of body parts going on.
For me, this was very uncool. I had NOTHING going on physically at this point. No growth spurt. No evidence of hair anywhere (not even that peach fuzz thing above the lip). I always tried to dress as quickly as possible.
One day, a kid named Randy Milbrook was making the rounds, running his mouth. I never liked Randy. Still don't. He was always in trouble, not a very good student. He came from wrong side of town. He was known to have been paddled many times and probably very much deserved every one of them. In fact, I was pretty sure he had been paddled in that PE class by Mrs. Garrison earlier in the year.
So, anyway, Randy did have more going on physically than many in our grade. He was bigger, did have that peach fuzz thing going on, and his voice had changed.
On the day in question, he was seeking out a friend of mine. John and I were in a similar spot. We were both pretty small at that time and neither of us were maturing yet. John was even smaller than me. We hung out in the locker room and tried to keep our distance from all of the debauchery going on elsewhere.
One day after PE, we had returned to the locker room and were about to change back into our regular clothes. Randy starts giving John the business about this or that, I don't really remember. But, it was teasing, it was embarrassing, and it was very annoying. After a minute or so, I just lost my cool and said to John, "don't listen to anything he says, everyone knows he's a dumbass."
So, while I had not said anything directly to Randy, I HAD said what I said loud enough for much of the locker room to hear. Immediately, the cat calls and "woooooooo" sounds started to come from all corners. Randy had been called out, everyone was now watching, and he had to respond.
I can still see him take an aggressive step toward me. He was bigger and I probably would not have had much of a chance in the ring. But, I quickly made a decision and tagged him across his left cheek. It was not a terribly hard blow, but, it had connected and felt pretty good to me. He quickly pounded me back across the top of the head which did not feel as good to me. We then grabbed each other and fell over a bench that was there. That fall actually hurt much more than the punch from Randy. Quickly, I could hear voices and feel myself being pulled upward. It was Mrs. Garrison, she had me by the arm and was grabbing ahold of Randy too.
The "fight" was over. Anyone who has ever been in a fight knows that there is this period when you hear or think about nothing, but, then quickly it all comes back to you. I remember standing there with my knee bleeding from the fall and my arm pretty uncomfortable from the iron grip Mrs. Garrision had on my arm. As my faculties returned, it dawned on me that I probably had just earned my first school paddling.
My thoughts were swirling. As the seconds ticked by, and as my brain better processed what had just transpired, it became clearer to me that I was in big trouble.
Mrs. Garrison now had hold of both of us. We started walking toward her office which was where she administered her spankings. However, for some unknown (at the time) reason, she announced to the rest of the class, "get dressed and get to your next class, I have to take these boys to the office!"
"The OFFICE?" I remember instantly being terrified. It was all happening very quickly, too quickly. I had still been processing the likelihood of a paddling from Mrs. Garrison. She was a PE teacher and was certainly athletic. I am sure it would have hurt quite a bit. But, in my mind, the OFFICE meant only one thing. It meant Mr. Stanbach. Why couldn't she just do it?? Why the office?? Why?? My first school paddling was going to be from the one person I had most wanted to avoid. There was no doubt he was going to tear my little lily white fanny up and I started to feel tears well up in my eyes.
Randy was trying to talk to Mrs. Garrrison, but I did not hear much of anything. As we took the "walk of shame" down the hallway with her still tightly holding onto us, we passed peers. One was Angie, a girl I had kissed on the lips (no open mouth) one time the previous year at a school dance. She must have been able to tell we were in big trouble, the look on her face seemed scared and empathetic, and her expression made me even more fearful of my current predicament.
I was scared. But, as I could see the office ahead in the hallway, I suddenly was overcome with an emotion that trumped the fear. An intense burn of humiliation started to saturate my body as it became clear what was looming. The secretaries!!! They all thought so much of me. What would they think now?? Miss Lawson!!!??? I felt like all of the liquid in my body instantly dried up as it occurred to me that she was likely there in the office. My mouth was so dry.
Too quickly, we entered the office. I tried very hard not to make eye contact with anyone and, sure enough, I can't say for sure who was there when we first arrived. However, I did hear Mrs. Garrison when she said the words I had feared were coming, "These boys need to have a meeting with Mr. Stanbach. I need to get back to class."
And there it was. I almost started openly crying right then. I remember feeling it coming on but somehow I kept it at bay. NO idea how. It just seemed so unfair. My first school paddling was getting ready to happen. And, Mr. Stanton seemed certain to make quite an impression.
Quickly, however, "Sorry Mrs. Garrison, he had a doctor's appointment, but Mrs. Clarkston is back there."
Thoughts swirled again. No Mr. Stanbach, which was VERY good news. But, Mrs. Clarkston?
I kept my eyes toward the floor as I tried to somehow not be noticed by the office personnel. We directly made our way down the hallway, but not quite as far. Mrs. Clarkston's office was the first one on the left.
We were instructed to sit in two chairs that were facing her desk. Without acknowledging us, she joined Mrs. Garrison right outside her office. They whispered for a minute or two as it was clear that Mrs. Garrison was giving her the details. She quickly returned to her desk seat and Mrs. Garrison escaped the tense scene to get ready for her next class.
For a few seconds, Mrs. Clarkston did not say anything. She seemed to be thinking about something and her eyes peered over her glasses toward us. But, it was clear that she was not seeing us at that point. I remember getting a brief hope that maybe things would work out. I was certainly hoping Mr. Stanbach would not return and I also thought it possible that Mrs. Clarkston really did like me enough to give me a pass.
As those thoughts were circulating, she spoke…
"Mrs Garrison tells me you boys were fighting in class today. Is that true?"
"Yes ma'am" was all we could mutter.
"She also tells me that both of you threw a punch in this fight. Is that so?
"Do you boys remember the speech I gave at the beginning of the year? The one when I clearly listed behaviors that would not be tolerated at my school."
We knew what this meant and said nothing.
"Well, you were told."
With that, her door was still open so she called out to the main secretary. I knew this was potentially very bad news as I knew that she was often asked to be the "witness" to the office paddlings.
However, things quickly got worse as, instead, Miss Lawson popped her perky little head around the door and said, "sorry Mrs. Clarkston, she is in the Ladies room."
I could feel my face burn as I looked down at the floor. I hoped that somehow she had not seen it was me that was in trouble.
That thought quickly turned useless as Mrs. Clarkston uttered the most intense words I had ever heard at that point in my life, "OK, well, come on in and close the door behind you. I need a witness. These boys need a spankin'"
With that, my sentence had been delivered. I was finally going to get it. I was scared. But, MUCH MORE humiliated and embarrassed. I could not believe that Miss Lawson was going to witness me getting my bottom worn out by the principal. There is no doubt that my thoughts for that first 30 seconds or so were far more about the presence of the witness than the soon to be application of wooden board to my butt. I had been spanked at home with a paddle. Not often, only two times. Once in 4th grade and once in 5th. Those were the only two spankings I got from my father. Well deserved, I might add. 3 swats each time. Thus, I knew what it was going to feel like, for the most part, and knew it was going to suck and burn like hell. But, I had NEVER had someone, anyone, witness me getting spanked…..
Mrs. Clarkston remained all business. She stood and turned her back to us, opening a metal file cabinet behind her chair. It made a loud creaking noise as she opened the drawer. She reached in and retrieved her paddle. It was a light colored wood, looked very solid. The surface area was plenty large enough to whack across both cheeks of a deserving kid's backside, but narrow enough to focus the unbearable sting on the lowest part of soft butt cheeks. My heart sank as the visual now made my immediate future much clearer. Remaining all business, Mrs. Clarkston uttered instructions as if she had done this many, many times before. With her back still turned, she said "Ok, if you have anything in your back pockets, take it out now." This, of course, was probably what she said every time before beating a kid's tail. However, it was also ridiculous. We still had on the school issued gym shorts and so we had no pockets. The thin shorts now became another of my concerns.
As she turned, she looked straight through me. Pointing the paddle at my chair, she flatly stated, "stand up". She came to my side of the desk and then turned my chair 90 degrees from how it had been. Pointing the paddle at the legs of the chair, she said "now put each foot on the outside of the legs of the chair. Then, bend over and place your hands on the other side of the chair. Do it now."
Hearing those words brought me back to the fear side again. I was still so humiliated that Miss Lawson was in there to see me get spanked. But, now the actual paddling was about to begin. I just remember telling myself over and over, "Don't cry, Don't cry, Don't cry"…..
With that, she tapped the paddle against my bottom one light time and then said, "keep your hands where they are, don't move. This will be real quick."
And, she did not lie. As I looked at my hands tightly gripping the other side of the chair, I gritted my teeth as she blistered my fanny firmly and quickly. I got 3 good, hard swats. The first, as always, was shocking. The second swat connecting in the same spot was when the burn became intolerable and I truthfully did not need the 3rd lick for my lesson to have been well learned. But, it most definitely came anyway.
Mrs. Clarkston fried my butt.
It was all over in 10 seconds, if that. I don't believe I made any noise but I really don't know. My ass was on fire but I also quickly noticed that the inside of my mouth was bleeding. I could taste blood. I wore braces at the time and I must have gritted my teeth so hard that the braces cut the inside of my mouth as I bore down. This might have been to my benefit as it temporarily focused my attention away from the fact that I had just been spanked by the principal. I did NOT cry, but my eyes were very watery. AND, I was not in the clear yet. As she told me to stand up and move over, I had to step away from the "scene". This brought Miss Lawson into my field of vision. My eyes blurry with tears, I did not let them fall and they also shielded me from her. Still, the humiliation burned deeper as multiple sensations jostled for my attention. My buttocks felt as if I had sat bare bottom on a stove burner and it was still getting worse. It took a lot not to put both hands on it and rub furiously. That is exactly what I had done after I got paddled by my Dad at home. Both times, and had cried my eyes out. But, that would not have been cool and I was trying SO hard to keep my cool. At the same time, I could taste blood and the spot in my mouth really hurt as well. More than anything, I just wanted to leave that office, have some privacy, and not have anyone looking at my face or my bottom. As I focused all of my energy on keeping it together and not giving in to the tears and/or burn, I began to realize that more visual stimuli was developing in front of me. Coming out of my fog, I saw Randy bend over in the same way I had. I had not heard much really since "this will be real quick" had been uttered by Mrs. Clarkston. My senses had understandably been elsewhere. But, as my brain came back into balance, I took in the scene in front of me. Just as I had never been spanked in front of someone before, I had actually never SEEN anyone get spanked before. I had HEARD plenty. With the 5 alarm fire still building in my backside, I tried to focus on the scene. As I did, I heard Mrs. Clarkston announce that Randy would be getting 5 swats. This was because Randy had already been paddled earlier that year by Mrs. Garrison. As I said earlier, corporal punishment policies were changing while we were in school. One that had already changed was that teachers could no longer give more than 3 licks during one spanking. However, administrators could. I later learned that while teachers COULD give 3 swats again to the same student for a second infraction, most opted to let the office take care of the second round knowing that the punishment could be more severe. In my case, that was the reason my paddling had happened in the office instead of from Mrs. Garrison. Since Randy had "qualified" for the main office's attention, Mrs. Garrison apparently felt like it would make more sense just to have us both dealt with there. An example of how arbitrarily some of these corporal punishment decisions were made. And, another reason for my hatred of Randy.
As Mrs Clarkston addressed Randy's backside with her paddle, I saw her tap it lightly as she had with me. I could see his butt respond lazily to the tap. From my vantage point, I could see Randy's butt seemingly trying to pop out of those thin gray shorts as he bent, but I could also see a side view of his face. Over his shoulder, I could see Mrs Clarkston addressing her target with a stern look of determination. And, over her shoulder, I could see that Miss Lawson was intently fulfilling her duty as witness. Her eyes were directly focused on Randy's butt. This, of course, meant the same had been true when I was getting swatted. I was probably embarrassed again but so many sensory activities were happening at the same time. It was tough to focus. Meanwhile, my butt continued to sting like hell and the inside of my mouth was still bleeding.
Suddenly, my senses were focused as the first paddle swat banged into Randy. His mouth opened wide as did his eyes. As with me, Mrs Clarkston delivered swats two and three immediately. Randy's face contorted horribly and it appeared that he may have moved his hands and his ass. Mrs Clarkston paused, perhaps because of the movement. Or, maybe to emphasize that part 2 of his paddling was coming and that it was due to repeated poor behavior. Regardless, my eyes were on Mrs. Clarkston and I definitely saw swat 4 coming, it clearly seemed to me that she gave something extra to swat 4 and 5. Her facial expression changed slightly as her wrist flicked the surface area of her paddle across the width of Randy's bottom. Randy reacted to the increase in intensity and definitely emitted a weak sounding yelp. I remember thinking that would be helpful for my purposes down the road. I really did not like Randy. I did see the last lick connect with his butt and remember being surprised by how much his ass shuddered from the spank. Randy seemed to muffle tears and could not resist the urge to stand, reach back, and aggressively squeeze and rub his butt with both hands. Mrs. Clarkston firmly told him to bend back over and return his hands to the chair, which he quickly did. After a few seconds, she told him to stand.
And, that was it. No lecture. Nothing else. She simply handed us a note for our next teacher and told us to go back to the locker room and then quickly to our next class. As we left, I did sneak a peek at Miss Lawson out of the corner of my eye. As red as my face felt and as red as I could see Randy's was, hers might have been more so. She did not look comfortable with what had just happened in front of her. I quickly looked away and tried so hard to avoid any eye contact with anyone on the way through the office. I don't remember any eye contact but I could feel how hot and red my face was. It was terribly embarrassing walking back through that office, with my behind burning, knowing that the entire room had just heard me getting punished. I focused straight ahead and walked as quickly as I could through the door.
Looking back now as an adult, I find it surprising that they just let us go back to the locker room. After all, we had scrapped a few minutes before. But, sure enough, Randy walked down the corridor 10 steps or so ahead of me. Just the two of us. Of course, fighting again was the last thing on my mind. As I walked, I was still trying to process the intense scene I had just endured. My brain was unable to settle on any one part of it. I just walked the best I could with my freshly spanked rear end. Head down. We passed some 8th grade girls. They sort of giggled. Of course, it could have been for any reason, but in my mind they somehow knew we had just received a paddling. I am sure our faces looked the part as I could still feel mine burning with the deep humiliation.
When we returned to the locker room, we were fortunate that the next class had already dressed out and left for that days activities. Randy had arrived before me and was now locked in a bathroom stall. I could not hear any crying but he stayed in there. At this point, I did not care any more. I was far more worried about me. As my embarrassment returned, I got it in my mind that if I dressed quickly and moved on to my next class, maybe it would not be so obvious to my peers what had transpired. Certainly, the entire ordeal had taken no more than 15 minutes. So, it seemed possible. As I let my gym shorts fall to the floor, I did take a quick rub and squeeze of my punished skin under my "tighty whities". Still very hot. Realizing I did not wish to get caught doing that, I quickly stepped into my pants and finished dressing. I washed my face quickly to erase any evidence of tears and to see if I could get my normal color to return. I then walked quickly but pretty uncomfortably to Mrs. Coby's class.
When I got there, I made no eye contact, just handed her the note. There was no writing on the note indicating that I has been paddled, but there were some boxes checked. I used every once of energy to avoid eye contact, but, I could feel the eyes of my classmates on me. I sat down gingerly on the wooden seat of my desk. My bottom very much had the feel of a sunburn as I sat. I could feel my face begin to blush again. I opened a book and pretended to be fascinated with the text. I never took my eyes off that text for the remainder of class. I don't even think I turned the page.
Once the bell rung, I got out of there quickly. Lost in the sea of kids changing classes, I felt blissfully anonymous for the first time in an hour.
As it turned out, my effort to hurry to the next class did help in regard to keeping the word from spreading. For awhile. But, later that afternoon, as the details of my "battle" with Randy started to circulate, it eventually became known what had happened that morning. Especially since Mrs. Clarkston had paddled us. That added an additional element to it, as she was not known to paddle very much anymore. Once the word was out, I did get asked incessant questions about the experience and I did not enjoy that at all. I just wanted to go home.
Once there, I did examine my "wounds" from the day. My butt was very pink and I was surprised by how low the swats had been delivered. I did not have any bruises, then or after a few days. However, I was very sensitive when sitting for the next day or two. Again, it felt like a sunburn that gradually improves. My knee was already trying to scab over as I had skinned it up pretty good during the fight. It was right on the bend part of the knee. So, it was very stiff and sore. Actually, for longer than my bottom was. My mouth actually hurt the most that afternoon/evening. I had bit down pretty hard while being spanked and the entire left side of the inside of my mouth felt like it was an open wound. And, I did have a small lump on top of my head where Randy had connected.
I did not want my family to know and was worried that Mrs. Clarkston would call. So, when it was announced that we were going to dinner in order to celebrate my sister's birthday( it was not actually her birthday, either the day before or after, I don't remember. But, I do remember that there was some other conflict on her actual birthday) I was initially pleased. These were the days long before cell phones and our family did not yet have an answering machine. So, even if she did call, we might would be out and miss the call. Strategically, it was all I had.
When my sister announced she wanted to go to Morris Hill Cafe, my mood darkened again. We all enjoyed the food there. The problem was that so did much of the town. There were no good restaurants in my hometown back then (no liquor by the drink) so diners were what we had. Morris Hill only had 10 booths or so. Always packed. And, it was the sort of place you were likely to see a school teacher or a parent of a classmate eager to share the day's gossip.
My problem, of course, was that I WAS the days gossip. I will never forget sitting in the hard wooden booth. My behind still very uncomfortable from the day's main event. My knee was killing me. My mouth was so sore all I wanted to order was Macaroni and Cheese. I reasoned I could just use the right side of my mouth and let it slide on down. As we ate, I kept an eagle eye on the door. Incredibly, NOONE from school came in. I still cannot believe how lucky that was.
My parents never found out. Many years later, we were at a birthday party for my sister and my wife brought it up in effort to tease me about it. So, my sister does know. Until then, she did not know that mid April was not just all about her birthday. It also serves as the anniversary of my one and only school paddling.
Speaking of my wife. We grew up about 100 miles apart. Met in college, we graduated high school the same year. Incredibly, she also was swatted one time in school. Also in April of her 7th grade year......
There is no way to know if it was the same day. But, we have fun with it.......
Mrs. Womack’s Blazing Paddle
Spanking was not permitted in the schools I attended from kindergarten through second grade, although my first grade teacher did pretend to spank us on our birthday. We would be called to the front of the class, bent over the teacher’s knee, and “spanked” with a ruler. It was all in fun, and not disciplinary. It created a “charge” although I had no idea what that “charge” was.
We moved to the Southern part of the USA for the third grade. I was quickly introduced to the concept that paddles could be used in schools. Shortly after the year began, my teacher (Mrs. Womack) made it clear that she would paddle, and paddle quite effectively. I still got a “charge” from seeing other's paddled. I still had no idea why it was so exciting, or why it was fun to tease the poor spankee.
About midway through the year, my perspective changed. My “turn” had arrived. Just as I pretended to kick a friend, Mrs. Womack turned around. She pointed directly at me and said, “Go back to the room. You’ll get it when I return.” The only reason I wasn’t paddled on the spot is that she had failed to bring the dreaded implement with her.
I managed to make it back to the room with only one query from another teacher as to why I was alone in the hall during class time. I mumbled something about Mrs. Womack sending me to do something. The teacher nodded, said OK, and sort of smiled. How did they all know what was going on?
As I sat in the room, dreading my fate, I thought about running away. That idea was quickly dispensed with as I fretted a trip to the office in addition to Mrs. Womack’s knee. I had never been to the office, but rumor was that the principal (Mrs. McGee) had a razor strap and a “big” paddle. I decided this was not the time to test the rumors. So, I sat with crocodile tears and waited. Why were they taking so long – geeeez, let’s get it over with.
They finally returned, and everyone looked toward me – some snickering. Mrs. Womack went directly to her desk, placed her books down, opened the drawer, and pulled out the paddle. It was a fraternity style implement with holes drilled in it, and probably 1/4″ thick. From watching prior paddlings, I knew it made a sharp cracking sound on impact that must have stung ferociously. As Mrs. Womack walked toward me, I couldn’t take my eyes off this “board of education.” I had a genuine fear of it.
Mrs. Womack believed in paddling in the classroom – no private sessions. She instructed me to stand up which I did on shaky legs. Being the nice lady she was, Mrs. Womack helped me with the shakiness by propping her foot on the book shelf below my desk and bending me over her leg/knee. When she braced one arm on my back, I stopped shaking and was adequately immobilized for her to begin. Mrs. Womack’s style was not to give a few swats. Rather, she preferred to paddle fast and hard and long. I must have received 15-20 rapid strokes. I distinctly remember thinking as the first one hit that “this wasn’t so bad.” I felt the outline of the paddle and just a bit of sting through my jeans. As these rapidly landing strokes continued to explode on my bottom, I quickly realized that “this was horrible.” I was in tears by the 4th or 5th stroke, and felt the sting and burn for quite some time after it ended. I sat tenderly for the rest of that day, and felt the effects well into the evening. Thank goodness bare bottom wasn’t permitted (as far as I knew).
During the balance of the year, I looked on in glee as others were paddled – the charge was always there. But, I never again taunted anyone after they got it. The pain and humiliation of being disciplined this way was certainly enough for anybody. In the long run, it didn’t truly hurt me despite my recollection. It is interesting that I can remember virtually every element leading up to the paddling and the first several strokes of the punishment, but that things blurred after that as the sting and pain built. My only thought must have been to get it over with or to get away, but Mrs. Womack had assured that getting away was not an option.
Thank you Mitch for the story!