Hi, it’s Sarah again. Just a quick refresh. I was born in 1948 and grew up in what is sometimes referred to as the ‘bible-belt’. Your readers might have read about the first time I got myself in trouble at school; that was when I was in Grade one.
One time, I was kept after school along with my friend, Debbie, and her brother, Jimmy, who is a year older than Debbie even though we were all in the 3rd grade at the same time. There was also an ‘unnamed co-conspirator’ who we all knew was the teacher’s pet, Nancy, who always got away with everything, at school anyways. Like every other rural community in the 1950s, our county was growing as factories and military bases were being built. Nancy and I were county originals. However, Jimmy and Debbie were newcomers to our area.
Of the other 15 kids in our grade, this was the first year for 6 of them at our school; Mary, the first red-haired girl I had ever met; Terry, a really big boy compared to the rest of us; Bradley, who moved into the house next to ours (there is another story there); Alan, who went onto fame with his soccer skills; Janette and her cousin, Helen.
It was June 8th 1955, and I will never forget that afternoon, or the following Friday evening after supper. It was such a beautiful spring day, as it had been most of the past week. There had been a lot of construction near our school and like the curious kids that we were, Jimmy, Debbie, and I decided to go exploring during our lunch-recess. Nancy saw us leaving school grounds and followed us. When she caught up, she asked if she could come too, and we all just shrugged and nodded “ok.” We walked throughout the construction for maybe ten minutes when Nancy looked toward Jimmy, telling him that she had to use the bathroom, so she had to go. Jimmy just said, “sure,” but I added, “Don’t tell anyone where we are.” She just hurried back to school like she really had to go bad.
I never gave it anymore thought until afternoon classes started.
Once attendance was taken, Mrs C turned toward the blackboard and wrote: ‘Please see me after school.’ Under the heading, she wrote three names; James H; Debra H; Sarah B. I knew we were in trouble, just didn’t know how much.
After the bell rang, the three of us stayed behind and, after our classmates had left for home, Mrs C told us to sit still with our heads on our desks. My guess is that about 15 minutes later, Mrs C returned, along with Mrs G and Miss S.
Mrs C told us sit up straight but when I started to speak, she just shushed me. Miss S then asked Jimmy to come with her and, after we could no longer hear footsteps, Mrs G spoke and asked Debbie to follow her. This left me alone with Mrs C and, honestly, I was a little afraid.
Once Mrs G and Debbie were down the hall, Mrs C spoke in a tone that undeniably suggested I was in a lot of trouble. Foremost for leaving school grounds, not to mention putting myself and the others in harms way. Then she sat down at her desk and took out her notepad. I could tell that she kept the message short and to the point. I saw her put the note in an envelope and write something on the outside.
I found out the next day, Mrs G had taken Debbie to the Teacher’s room.
Mrs C told me to stand up and motioned me toward her desk. As I stepped toward Mrs C’s desk, she asked me if I had anything to say for myself. I thought for a moment and I guess I must have drawn a blank because the next statement from Mrs C was: “Sarah, this sort of behaviour cannot go undeterred; we cannot have third graders running off by themselves. Can you imagine what could have happened if you had gotten lost, hurt, or worse?”
With that, she stood up, took my hand in hers and, but not before I saw my parents’ names written on the outside of that envelope, walked me towards our cubbies (storage) at the back of our classroom. I must have suspected what was about to happen because I resisted a little.
Mrs C merely said: “Sarah, this is for your own good.”
That was the moment I knew I was in for it. There were three or four chairs near the cubbies and Mrs C sat on the one at the far end. She motioned me toward her and just thinking of what might happen, I could feel tears starting to well in my eyes.
Without another word, Mrs C told me to pull up my dress and, as I did, she reached out and pulled my panties down past my knees. Just for a second, my mind went back to grade one when I got the paddle from Miss S, but before that thought cleared, Mrs C yanked me forward and over her lap. Before I could even breathe, she held me tight as she landed the first smack on my bare bum. Not even a second later, I got another two smacks on each cheek.
I just “owweeed” and “ouched!”
Then five whacks up and down, spanking both of my bum cheeks at the same time. Oh gosh, this was so much harder than when Miss S paddled me, but then she only gave me one whack that day. Then I lost count as the smacks kept landing on my bare bum. Mrs C paused, and I took a breath, then more smacks kept hitting my bottom. Mrs C spanked up one of my bum cheeks and down the other. I tried to be brave, but I couldn’t. Mrs C was holding me tight and spanking me hard. I knew I couldn’t hold back my tears much longer, but I swear I tried.
I suddenly felt myself slipping off her lap, so I started squirming, but she put a stop to that immediately with ten really hard smacks right on the centre of my bum. Every slap had to be within an inch of the previous one, and by the time the tenth one landed, my bare bum was on fire and I was crying my eyes out.
Mrs C adjusted her grip while telling me to stay still as she started spanking my bum again, not as hard as the previous ten whacks though, but even these smacks stung bad, really bad.
Mrs C repositioned me slightly. Now my bum was higher in the air, more of the way my mom spanked me after back-talking her. After maybe a ten second reprieve, she tightened her grip even more and then spanked me some more. And then she held me just a moment before telling me to stand up, straighten my clothes and to take ten minutes to rethink my decisions as she pointed to the corner.
As I walked towards the corner, she said: “Eyes on the wall or it’ll be the strap.”
I kept my eyes pointed at the corner until I heard Mrs G’s voice. I budged just a tiny bit when Mrs C said: “Sarah, this is your only warning. You have a choice of standing where you are, or standing outside of Miss S’s classroom until she can see you.”
I could feel tears forming again, and my bum stung so bad. And I was worried about Debbie and Jimmy; did they get it too? As my mind cleared, I heard Miss S ask Mrs C for Jimmy’s assignments, so I suspect that is also why Mrs G was there a few minutes earlier.
A few minutes after Miss S left our classroom, Mrs C told me to take my seat. I did, then she told me to sit still and write, ‘I will not leave the school grounds without permission ever again’ 50 times. Sitting at my desk was torture but I knew if I didn’t she might send me to Miss S for the strap.
I did my best to sit still and once I finished writing my lines, Mrs C handed me the envelope she had addressed to my parents and told me to have them sign it and return it on Monday, June 20th.
I was about to say: “But it’s only the 8th,” when she shushed me again.
At approximately 8.15 pm, Friday, June 17th, 1955, shortly after supper dishes were put away, I found out exactly why Mrs C’s note was to be returned on the Monday, a week and a half later, and I am very thankful for that she didn’t want my mom and Daddy to sign it that night.