I was a child in New York in the 1960s. My parents were modern liberals, but at the time that didn’t yet mean disapproval of corporal punishment, and spanking was normal for me and many of my friends and classmates.

I had an older brother and a younger sister, with two years between each of us. For some reason, I seemed to be the only child who got spanked, even though I was no worse behaved than my siblings. Indeed, I may have been the best behaved of the three of us. I have never understood why my brother and sister got away with scoldings and groundings for things that I was spanked for.

I would guess I was spanked two or three times a year from age five to age thirteen.

The first spanking I remember was for the banal crime of unauthorized cookie-jar access. Unfortunately for me, in the process of stealing a cookie I knocked over the ceramic cookie jar and broke it. My mother, seeing the scene, scooped me up in her arm, carried me into the living room and sat down on the couch. I was in pajamas and she whisked off my pajama bottoms in an instant before giving me a blazing spanking. I was quite astonished and bawled furiously.

Another spanking occurred when I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember that my father was out of town on business. After school, my mother reminded us that it was the day our report cards were to have been distributed. I was hoping she would forget, but we all had no choice but to turn over our report cards. Mine had a particularly reproachful account of bad conduct in class, as well as two or three grades that had dropped since the last time. My brother also had a bad report card, for which he was sentenced to be grounded for a week. But for me my mother set her jaw grimly and told me to go to her bedroom and bring her the hairbrush.

It was a heavy, wooden hairbrush that I was sometimes threatened with but had never felt. Nervously, I fetched the hairbrush and brought it to her in the living room. She was sitting in the middle of the couch. She told me to pull down my pants. I pleaded with her not to spank me, but she was adamant. With a sinking heart I lowered my trousers. She then yanked my underpants down as well and pulled me over her lap. My brother and sister watched as she gave me a vigorous spanking with the hairbrush, which hurt more than I had imagined it would and had me hollering from the start.

And my very last spanking occurred when I was 13. With a couple of friends, I had entered an abandoned building not far from my home. Unfortunately for me, the building was just visible from our house and my father thought he spotted me. He walked over to be sure. I was caught red-handed, for the building and its grounds were officially off-limits. He grabbed me by the arm and marched me back to our house. My two friends were walking behind us, eavesdropping on his angry lecture to me, which made it clear that I was about to receive a sound spanking.

He took me to my ground-floor bedroom. It was a hot summer day and all the windows of the house were open. I had no doubt that my friends were standing well within earshot. In fact, I later learned that they were standing to either side of my bedroom window itself. They didn’t dare peek inside but they heard it all clearly.

My father told me to take my pants down, as usual. At 13, I recall being mortified, not because I had any visible signs of puberty but because I hadn’t yet, that and the occasion of receiving a spanking made me feel babyish. As I pulled down my pants, he took his belt off and doubled it over in his hand. I lay over his lap and he whipped my bottom vigorously with the belt, leading me to squirm and cry helplessly. The spanking lasted longer than I would have liked. My friends were quite impressed, they told me afterwards.

And that was the end of spanking for me. I guess I had finally outgrown it.