I received three paddlings from the principal during my 5th grade year at school in Flippin, Arkansas. I was, in a way, getting in trouble on purpose to get it because besides enjoying the after effects and the excitement of the actual event, I think the principal was a replacement father figure since my dad had left my mom and my two brothers when I was 5.

This particular event was kind of funny because of the frustration it caused Mr Anderson, as you will soon see.

It was the Friday before Good Friday in 1956 and my mom had to be at the church at 4:00 pm to rehearse the upcoming play the next week. As a result, she had dressed me in one of my church dresses, yellow, which included a petticoat. She placed my recently cut hair into short pigtails with a yellow bow on each one. I also had on my new shiny black Mary Jane shoes with white ankle socks.

When I got to school, some of the kids kept teasing me because of my church attire. I kept explaining to them why I had it on but, as one probably remembers, some kids are assholes.

It was just after lunch and I remember the great care I took to avoid get any of the goulash on me since it would really show on the yellow fabric. I was at the three-head water fountain in the hall when a kid named Johnny came up behind me and said: “You look stupid in that dress, Emily.”

I guess that was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back because I turned around and said: “And Johnny, you look like an asshole in your clothes!”

As my luck would have it, Mrs Hutton, a second grade teacher, was just a few feet behind me and heard what I said.

“Emily Johnson,” she said sternly, “Come here this minute!”

As I approached her, she grabbed my left hand and took me straight to the office. As we went inside, I saw Mr Anderson talking to a secretary and, as he looked up, Mrs Hutton waved him over to her.

She then whispered in his ear, which changed his smile to a frown, which followed with: “I’ll take care of it. Thank you, Mrs Hutton.”

He looked at me and said: “Em, go have a seat in the waiting area and I will be right there.”

The waiting area, as mentioned in a previous account, was a small room that was between the school main office area and his private office. I went in there and waited for his arrival. I remember the feeling of both fear and excitement as to what I knew was coming my way.

After about 5 minutes, he walked in the waiting area and said to follow him as we went inside his office. He closed the door and then sat on the corner of his desk with one leg hanging off, looked at me intensely and asked for my version of what happened.

After hearing my story he replied: “Well, Emily, kids are often teasing other kids and that is just the way things go. But responding to teasing with vulgar language is not ever, ever, ever acceptable here at school or anywhere.”

Then he took a metal framed wood chair that was sitting in front of his desk and placed in front of the 6ft tall mirror that was in the middle of the wall to the right of his desk. He then said something like: “Blue talk results in warm backsides, just as the good book says.”

He placed his hand on my shoulder, walked me to the chair and lightly pushed as he said: “Bend over, place your hands flat on the seat and look forward. Do not look back at me or stand up before I tell you too. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir.”

“Yes sir, what?”

“Yes sir, Mr Anderson.”

“Good girl. Now we will begin.”

He pulled back the hem of my dress and then pulled back the petticoat and pressed it on my back with his left hand. I then felt the paddle rub against my white pantied bottom and out of the corner of my eye I saw the image of his arm swing back and return.

“Whack” was the sound and my backside felt like a bunch of ants stinging me at the same time. I breathed in and said: “Owie.”

Then came # 2 and 3 and 4 and 5, and while I was not trying to stand up, I do remember shifting my legs a bit and moving my bottom to the left and right as if that was helping somehow.

I was trying to tough it out by just saying: “Ow,” and breathing loudly.

Then came 6, 7 and 8, and Mr Anderson lifted his left hand for a moment and the petticoat shot back to its original position, which frustrated him.

He said something like: “This thing is annoying,” as he pulled the petticoat back over my back and pressed down again to hold it in place.

“We are about halfway done, Emily,” he said as he lined the paddle up again and delivered # 9, 10, 11 and 12. I had begun lightly crying now as my bottom was on fire and I could see my tears on the brown wood chair seat I was bent over.

Then he said: “And the last ones,” and then delivered 13, 14, 15 and 16. He stood there for a minute with his left hand holding me in place and asked if I was going to avoid using vulgar language.”

I replied: “Yes sir, Mr Anderson,” through my crying and then he released his left hand and said I could return to class.

I stopped by a rest room along the way to dry my face and compose myself a bit. I remember looking at the mirror in front of the sink and pondering that weird, fascinating feeling that was mixed in with the stinging pain.

After a few minutes I went back to the classroom and had to endure that feeling of: “Ha-ha, we know what happened to you.”

The stinging faded over the next hour but for some weird quirk of humanity, I found myself reliving what had just occurred. I would do this often and future spankings became even more exciting after I turned 12 that summer.

Em