At this point I want to comment on the "shoplifting" story. That event marked the only spanking that I received from my mother. It is also the only spanking that I still look back upon with real horror. I think that my parents very nearly crossed over the "abuse" threshold on that occasion. Forty swats was a lot -- double the number I recall receiving at any other time (excepting the 4th of July incident which was a totally different type of spanking; a TBFYB spanking, not a major event).
Why did it happen? I think my parents were scared really. I had recently turned thirteen. I was a teenager now, no longer a little boy. When an eight or nine year old steals a candy bar or a comic book you want to correct that behavior. You want to send a message that says "stealing is wrong!". When a thirteen year old steals something, you begin to worry. A thirteen year old should already know the message. A parent begins to wonder why, or where, they may have failed. At the same time that spanking marked a definite transition - the spankings tapered off significantly. Did I suddenly become a good boy? Not at all, but for whatever reason I received fewer and fewer spankings in the year ahead. The last spanking I recall, and it was not at all memorable, occurred when I was 14. But I forget myself. Let us return to those earlier pre-14 days.
* * *
San Francisco, Guam, Maine, Monterey - Obviously my family drove across the United States several times. My father never made a great deal of money and when we traveled we pretty much traveled all day. The idea being to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
Was I good in the car? Not always. I may not have been asking "Are we there yet?" with the frequency of a Bart Simpson, but I know I must have asked that question more than once. My father tried to keep me occupied, we played a lot of "count games", count the number of different state license plates, the number of different model/makes of cars, etc. I also slept a lot in the back seat.
Still, I think my parents deserve an award for patience. I don't recall a single instance where my behavior pushed my parents over the edge and caused them to pull over to the side of the road to give me a spanking. Oh, I think there were times when my behavior would have justified their having done so, but my parents were pretty forgiving, i.e. they realized that keeping a 10, and later 12, year old cooped up in the car all day was not something that was likely to bring out my best behavior.
To this day, it makes me angry when I see some parent slap or spank a child whose only crime is being tired or sick. I guess that's something I learned from my parents when I was growing up. If I did something that was clearly bad (something that I knew was wrong) I got punished or spanked, every time, without exception. But I never got spanked for poor behavior directly attributable to my being tired.
Nonetheless, there were limits to my parents' patience, and I do remember two "cross-country" spankings. Indeed, these spankings were received on consecutive days.
I was ten years old at the time; early January 1959. We were driving from Los Angeles (where some relatives lived) to Maine via Tucson, Arizona (where we stopped to visit some more relatives) and Texas (were we stopped to visit friends). This long about route was also selected because it was Winter and my Dad wanted to minimize the risk of encountering a snow storm - this was long before the days of Inter-State highways - so the trip (with visitation stops enroute) took at least two weeks to complete.
I got the first spanking on the outskirts of New Orleans. We ate dinner in New Orleans. My behavior at the restaurant hadn't been all that good - I don't recall any of the specifics but I know my mother and father were less than pleased by my conduct. A trip out to the car would normally have been given, but wasn't this time because it was raining too hard for that and had been raining like this all day. Whatever it was I had done, or hadn't done seemed to have been forgoten and the crisis passed. We left the restaurant and drove another half hour or so before stopping at a small motel for the night.
By the time we stopped at this motel it was quite late - then again, it was Winter and, as it was still raining cats and dogs, it might not have been all that late; it might simply have been very dark. In any case, it was dark and there was a huge storm going on with both lightening and thunder. My mother absolutely hated (and feared) lightening storms - whereas I always kind of liked them; still do. I'd never seen it rain as hard as it was raining that night.
After checking into the motel, my mother stayed in the room as dad brought in a few travel bags. I was supposed to have stayed in the room too but, as you might guess, didn't. I don't recall what I did, why, or what I had in mind but I managed to slip out of the room. In a matter of seconds, I was completely drenched. I remember mom being very upset. She was already frightened by the storm, and my escapade in the rain only added to her worries.
I couldn't have been outside more than a few seconds but I was, as noted, soaked to the skin by the time my father grabbed me and dragged/carried me back to the room. Dad handed me over to my mother and returned to the car for additional luggage and, unbeknownst to me - because of this exploit and perhaps because of my earlier misbehavior at the restaurant, the Hot Seat paddle.
While dad was out in the car my mother took me into the bathroom where she kept herself busy by yelling (bathrooms always amplify sound) at me as she took off my wet clothes. This wasn't all that easy as my clothes were, as noted, completely soaked and were clinging to my skin. By the time Mom got my clothes off Dad was back in the room.
When we exited the bathroom I saw the paddle lying on the large bed and realized, for the first time, that I was in for it. While mom had yelled a great deal while taking off my clothes in the bathroom, she hadn't mentioned a spanking so I was surprised (unpleasantly so) to see the paddle lying on the bed. I guess Mom saw the paddle at the same time I did and, whether or not she'd originally intended for me to get spanked, quickly offered her encouragement. This encouragement wasn't at all necessary as Dad had apparently brought the paddle in on his own accord and didn't need any prompting.
There are several things that make this spanking stand out in my memory - (1) because I was still pretty wet - not like out of a bath or shower but wet nonetheless; (2) because the lights went out before the spanking started; and (3) because I was put to bed without my PJs.
Before my dad had a chance to pull me over his knee there was a bright flash of lightening, followed quickly by a LOUD crash of thunder. Almost immediately the lights went out.
My mother smoked - when the lights went off she was very upset, she was already angry at me and the lightening/thunder/darkness did nothing to calm her nerves so she lit up a cigarette. This sort of power outage must have been common in the area and, believe it or not, there were several flashlights in the room, one of which was on the night stand next to the bed.
For a moment, when the lights went out, I thought I might escape this spanking but no such luck. Having found the flashlight by the glow of my mothers cigarette lighter and cigarette, Dad turned the flashlight on its end (with the beam pointing at the ceiling) and soon had my bare bottom pointed in the same direction. The paddle was put to good use but no more or less than usual - probably 12 or so swats. I was still a little wet, naked and (except for my bottom, which soon warmed up) a bit cold. The spanking stung a great deal, more so than usual I think because I was damp and a bit chilled.
When my dad finished spanking me he got up, opened a roll away bed (which was pre-made and stood in a corner of the room), pulled down the covers, reached over to pick me up, dropped me on the bed, and told me to quit my crying and go to sleep.
I laid on the roll away bed crying for a few minutes and then asked if I could get up to use the toilet. While taking a whizz I recall my mother telling me to brush my teeth and to be sure to wash my hands. When I came out of the bathroom I asked for my PJs. I remember how surprised I was when my Dad told me that he'd wasted enough time with me already, that it was late and, unless I wanted another spanking, I'd better climb right into bed and go to sleep.
Sleeping without PJs or underpants was something completely new - I don't recall how long I stayed awake but I know that I didn't just fall to sleep right away - I remember how crisp and cool the sheets were on my bare skin and warmed bottom and how my bottom sort of itched from the spanking. Something other than my bottom itched too but with my parents in the room there wasn't much I could do about that.
* * *
The next day we headed North. After a few hours driving, we pulled up at a truck stop, someplace in Arkansas, for lunch. The diner was situated on a slope. We parked the car around back and walked up and around to the entrance. After taking our seats, I asked to be excused to go to the bathroom . When I finished answering "nature's call", instead of returning to our seats, I wandered outside to look at all the neat trucks.
Well, to make a long story short, I was almost run over by a truck. Following my narrow escape, some truck driver came over and asked me where my folks were. I told him they were in the restaurant. He took it upon himself to escort me to my parents, and immediately set about telling them where he had found me. He said it was just luck that I hadn't killed myself and told my parents that I had no business being out there in the parking lot.
Well, my father hit the roof. He thanked the trucker for bringing me back and told him that he had no idea that I had been outside. He explained that he had given me permission to go to the rest room but that I had gone out to the parking lot "on my own" and without permission. No sooner had the truck driver departed our table, than my father stood up.
"I think it's about time you and I pay a visit to the car, young man. Those britches of yours must be getting a bit too tight. It seems I can't even trust you to go to the bathroom by yourself."
Having said that, my father excused himself from the table - "This won't take too long, (the waitress hadn't taken our order yet), we'll be back in just a few minutes." Then he grabbed me by the hand and marched me out to our car.
When we reached the car, my father wasted no time telling me to get my pants and underwear pulled down. I grudgingly complied, and my father, paddle in hand, wasted even less time turning me over his knee and giving my ass a good shining; 10 swats I think - again, no more or less than usual; but sufficient to make me regret having wandered off to look at those trucks in the first place.
When I stopped crying, he placed me on my feet, admonished me for a minute or two as I stood, at attention, with my pants and underwear still wrapped around my ankles. Finally, he allowed me to pull my pants back up. Just as we started to head back to the diner, the same trucker who brought me to my parents yelled out, and came walking over.
"I saw what you did there with the boy. I just want you to know that I was gonna suggest something along those lines but didn't want to be presumptuous."
With that, he nodded his head, winked at me, remarked that I was a "lucky boy" (I sure didn't think so!), and headed back towards his truck.
The story doesn't end here however. As Paul Harvey might say, "Now for the rest of the story."
When we returned to our seats, following a brief stop in the rest room to allow me to wash my face, I sensed that everyone in the diner was looking at me. Oh, I was pretty sure that one or two of the seated patrons must have overheard the earlier conversation and knew why I had been taken out to the car, but there seemed to be more to it than that; lots of low level conversation, and "knowing smiles".
As it turns out the windows here over looked the parking lot and our car wasn't really parked all that great a distance from where we were seated. I wasn't aware of that fact when I was being spanked (my eyes were looking at the asphalt, not the heavens - but now that I was back in the diner and seated, one look out the window made everything crystal clear.
My mother, and anyone/everyone (our waitress included) who happened to be seated at or near one of the adjacent booths, had had a "ring side seat" for my spanking. With the realization of that little tidbit hit home, I'm sure my face must have turned beet red, it certainly turned a brighter shade of red than my recently warmed (and widely watched) bottom.
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