A little background: I grew up in the 1980s and 90s. I lived in a small factory town in Pennsylvania. Spankings were still common then, at least for working class kids like me. Most of my friends growing up were spanked at some time or another, and the few who weren’t seemed a bit strange to the rest of us.

This story takes place when I was 12 years old and in 7th grade. Spanking was the main form of discipline in my family, but I was usually a good girl. Up to this point in my life, I had gotten maybe a dozen or so proper spankings from my mom (who used a wooden spoon or hairbrush) and three or four hard hand-spankings from my dad. My younger sister, Emily, was the troublemaker of the family and got spanked much more frequently than me. She had even gotten my father’s belt a few times.

In addition, my mother wasn’t stingy about handing out a casual smack on the bottom. Both my sister and me received one more times than either of us could count. Usually, that would be enough to get me back into line. Around this time, my behavior had started slipping a little as adolescence approached, and I had been in trouble twice in the two or three months prior to this spanking, which for me was an awful lot.

Our Church had just hired a new youth pastor, Pastor David. He ran a youth Bible study on Wednesday nights that I zealously attended. He was young, maybe mid-20s. While not overly good looking, he was passionate and energetic. He was kind to us and took our thoughts and ideas seriously, unlike most of the peevish old ladies and air-headed high school and college girls who taught us in Sunday school. I looked forward to every Wednesday with an eagerness that I had never felt towards any aspect of the Christian faith.

I developed a massive crush on Pastor David, and I wasn’t the only one. I remember on this particular Wednesday another girl my age, Bethany, had worn a short skirt. One of our regular Sunday school teachers, a 60ish woman called Irene, was hanging around the Church for some reason. She caught sight of Bethany and castigated her for the skirt, saying that such attire was not appropriate in God’s house. I figured she had worn it to impress our mutual crush, and I seethed with jealously, since I knew my mom would never buy me a skirt that short, much less allow me to wear it to Church.

Still, I had developed my own ways of getting Pastor David’s attention. I wanted to flirt with him, but at 12 years old I had no idea how to flirt. Instead, I took to filching small items from the messenger bag that he slung over his shoulder wherever he went. At the end of the evening, I’d present them back to him with a big smile on my face. He probably should have told me off the first time, but he didn’t. Instead, he was always astonished by how I was able to take the items without him noticing. I took this as encouragement, and each week I tried to steal a more important item. The other kids were impressed by my prowess too, and they encouraged me more openly. As time went on, they started providing diversions to assist me.

Eventually, I got the idea for my ultimate score. I decided to take his keys which he wore on a carabiner clipped to one of his belt loops. For several weeks, I tried and failed to find a way to get them. On this day, I finally succeeded. I did it before the class, while he was distracted talking to another kid. I felt a tremendous rush as I slipped them into the pocket of my jeans. Unfortunately, as the Bible study went on, I completely forgot about them. When my mom picked me up, I left with the keys still in pocket.

Shortly after we got home, the phone ran. Dad answered it, and apparently got the whole story of my criminal career from Pastor David. Needless to say, he and my mom were furious. Mom and I went back to the Church to return the keys. When we got there, I apologized meekly to Pastor David. He took it in remarkably good spirit. He wasn’t angry at me; he just needed his car and house keys to get home. He even tired to convince my mom that it was no big deal. He said it was a game between us and not really stealing in the proper sense. Mom was having none of it.

At one point, Pastor David said something like, “Don’t be too hard on her.”

My mom’s response was ominous, “Her father will deal with her when we get home.”

The ride back home was the longest ride of my life. In my head, I knew I’d get the belt for this, but in my heart, I hoped I’d escape with a hand-spanking. I had never had the belt before, but I’d heard my sister get it, and I had several friends who’d told me about it as well. The prospect of a belt spanking terrified me more than anything else in the world.

When we finally got home, I went up to my room. Dad was sitting on my bed waiting for me.

I remember the first thing he said to me, “Why do you keep making bad choices, Jennifer?”

I told him I didn’t know. He continued to question me in this way, but I couldn’t explain my actions, which only made things worse. My dad was clearly shocked by my behaviour.

“I expect this type of thing from Emily, not you.” Finally, he said, “You need a hard spanking for this, Jennifer. Take down your pants and bend over the bed.”

At this point, I started crying. Dad normally gave hand-spankings over his knee, and I knew from my sister that bending over the bed meant I was getting the belt.

“Save your tears, young lady, you’re going to need them.”

“Please Daddy, not the belt! I’m soooo sorry, I’ll do anything, just please, don’t give me the belt.” I said as I unsnapped my jeans.

I took them down past my knees and bent over the edge of my bed.

I could hear the jingle of my dad undoing his belt as he said, “Panties down too, Jennifer.”

This made me cry even more, and I started another round of begging.

“Get them down this instant, or you’ll be a very sorry little girl.”

I remember thinking I already was very sorry, but I stood up and tugged my panties down around my thighs and resumed my position.

I remember hearing the whoosh of his belt flying though the air, and the crack of the first stroke which was accompanied the sharpest pain I’d even known. It was all I could do to stay down on the bed. I knew from hearing my sister’s punishments that Dad hated it when she got out of position. The second crack of the belt was too much, I jumped up clutching my bottom.

“Back down, Jenny. We’re nowhere near done,” was my Dad’s reply.

I was sobbing now, and I kept begging and promising to never do it again. I got back down and the punishment continued. My father wielded the belt with workmanlike efficiency. The pain seemed unbearable. I squirmed and squirmed, and by the fifth or sixth stroke I was biting down on my blanket.

After 10 or 12 strokes the spanking stopped. It’s hard for me to describe how I felt when it was finally over.

It may sound silly, but years later, I read the final sentences of the third chapter of Evenlyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

“We’ll have a heavenly time alone,” said Sebastian, “And when next morning, while I was shaving, I saw from my bathroom window Julia, with luggage at her back, drive from the forecourt and disappear at the hill’s crest, without a backward glance, I felt a sense of liberation and peace such as I was to know years later when, after a night of unrest, the sirens sounded the All Clear.”

I remember reading that and thinking that it expressed perfectly the feeling I had when my first belt spanking was over.

Dad sat beside me on the bed and beckoned me to sit on his lap. He gave me a big hug and explained that he didn’t want to do this, but that stealing was very serious, and I had to learn never to do it again. I promised through my tears that I never would. I cried myself to sleep soon after he left the room. Needless to say, I never stole anything from Pastor David or anyone else again. Unfortunately for me, this wouldn’t be my last run in with daddy’s belt.