The game of the day in the 1970s was to make catapults out of elastic bands, by tying 2 or 3 together, threading them through the fore finger and thumb of one hand, then getting a small piece of paper, folding it into a small piece, make it wet, then fire it at some unsuspecting person. This mainly went on during lessons when the teacher was not looking.
In an English lesson, one of the student teachers was being assessed and there was a monitor in the room, watching how the lessons progressed. Even though there was an assessor, the game still went on. I was writing away when all of a sudden one of the wet pieces of paper smacked into the side of my head. It was a boy nicknamed ‘Maggot’. Grinning away, revenge was going to be mine. So when the back of the teacher was turned, I let fly with a piece of paper, but ‘Maggot’ saw it, lent back in his chair and watched as it sailed past his face, straight into the assessor’s cheek. She leapt up with a start, and the whole class stopped working. She left the room almost immediately and returned with Mr C.
“Ok,” he bellowed. “Which one of you did this?”
No one said a word.
“I am warning you, all of you will get a red slip and meet up with me at 4:15, so come on, who was it?” His face getting redder by the second.
One of the girls stuck up her hand, saying, “It came from over there,” and pointed in the general direction of where I was sitting.
With that, Mr C came over to near where I was sitting.
“Right, which one of you did this? Come on, answer me now or you will all get a red slip,” he yelled.
I stood up and said it was me.
“Right, boy, a red slip for you, boy, and I will see you at 4:15, where I will make sure you will be feeling very sorry for yourself after I have finished with you. Now get out of this room and wait for me in my atrium.” He barked.
I left the room and went to the atrium, knowing what was going to happen. The question was how many strokes I would get.
I was joined in the long white room by two girls, Dawn and Judith. They were a year younger than me and looked very scared. At 4:15, the door opened and Mr C appeared.
“Right, boy, I will deal with you last,” he said to me. “You two girls, inside.”
They walked into the room in silence. I moved up towards the door and waited my turn.
The door to his office was white, with a frosted glass frontage that filled about a third of the door. I could hear Mr C reading the riot act. The girls had been caught bullying and stealing money from first formers. It suddenly went quiet, then the familiar sounds of swish, crack, cry or scream could be heard. I counted the strokes. Each girl got 6 strokes and then the room went quiet. After no more than a couple of minutes, the door opened and Mr C called my name. I followed him in.
Mr C was a small man, with a round, very red, face, with round glasses and a large handlebar moustache. He was in his 60s, and wore a suit and waistcoat with a pocket watch and chain. He had a large desk, a massive bookshelf, 2 cupboards, and 2 yellow cloth covered chairs.
“Right, boy, I know that you have been caned before, but this is going to be a caning that you will not forget in a hurry.” He roared, his face getting more red as he spoke. “I know all about these games and I am going to make sure that you will think twice before even attempting to try it again. I am sick and tired of boys like you playing the fool when you should be working. You might have seriously injured the assessor.
“Take off your blazer and bend over the yellow chair.”
I took off my blazer while he moved the chair into the centre of the room. I walked up to the chair and bent over.
“No, boy,” he bellowed. “I want your trousers off as well.”
I removed my trousers and shoes and bent back over the chair.
“That’s right, boy get right down.
I could hardly breathe as my face was pushed right down into the soft yellow cushion, and I could not see anything. He stood behind and pulled up my pants so tight that part of my bottom was exposed.
He then must have been behind me, as I felt him lining up with the cane as my bottom was tapped a couple of times. It suddenly went quiet and I knew the caning was about to start. Then the familiar swish and crack as the cane cut into the unprotected skin. It was like a hot piece of metal that had suddenly been stuck on my bottom. I bit into the cushion.
As the next stroke tore into my bottom, I desperately wanted to move. The next stroke tore into my bottom. I could feel that it was getting numb. Half expecting the next stroke to follow, the room went quiet again. He must have adjusted his stance as there was a swish and a loud crack, as the cane hit my backside, but it seemed to cut across the other strokes. I only moved a little bit.
Laying over a chair, with just my underpants showing, I felt very exposed. All I wanted to do was stand up and put on my trousers. Just when I thought it was over, another loud swish came from behind and a loud crack moments later as the cane smashed into my bottom. With all the strength in my body, I didn’t move. After another minute, not knowing whether another stroke of cane was coming, I heard his voice.
“Right, boy, get up and make yourself presentable.”
I slowly got up from the chair. I tried to readjust my underpants, but they were difficult to move, so I just gingerly put on my trousers. The pain was intense as I pulled them up over my backside. There was no way I was going to bend down and put on my shoes. I just slipped them on. When I was presentable, he looked up from his desk.
“I hope you learnt from that caning, boy.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
I left the room hobbling down the corridor, my backside on fire. I dived into the toilet and pulled down my pants. The damage was notable, and sitting was going to be uncomfortable.