Well, let me tell you about my introduction to The Slipper at school.
I was about thirteen, a wicked age indeed, and with many years of naughtiness behind me, my parents were in despair as to what to do with me. They decided I would fare better in a small private school with tiny class numbers where I could be observed more closely. While corporal punishment was being phased out in some state schools, the private school I was to go to still disciplined their girls this way. I’m sure that influenced my parents’ decision to send me there, as they were firm believers in the rod connecting firmly and regularly with their wilful and disobedient daughter’s backside.
So, on the first day of September, I dressed in the hateful uniform for the first time. Horrible navy knickers that reached my belly button and hugged my cheeks roundly. A stiff white blouse and a black A-line pleated skirt that had to touch my knees AND NO SHORTER! A black cardigan with a yellow piping at the collar and cuffs was par for the hateful course, but the old school tie in the same black and yellow stripe design just paved the way for the matching blazer and the grim school overcoat and heralded the dawn of a dreadful new era for girls school uniforms in general. The hated straw boater with black and yellow ribbons that hung down my back and didn’t quite hide my furious face. There was no getting away from it either. The teachers used to parade the streets of the local area to ensure that their precious girls were dressed correctly on their way to school. Any breaches of this rule were swiftly dealt with by the strict headmistress in morning assembly. So for a little while, I decided to comply.
I soon marked myself out as a trouble maker though. I refused to embroider my gym knickers with my name in sewing class, I constantly forgot my PE kit on purpose and actually quite enjoyed being made to climb the ropes in just my bra and knickers while my classmates looked on, which didn’t quite make it the humiliating punishment it was intended to be. It wasn’t long before I was in trouble every day, and letters home to my parents about my behaviour were flying through the mail like Christmas Bunt Cake.
After one such letter led me to yet another painful trip across my mother’s knee before school one morning, I arrived late to school in a black mood, with a burning bottom and a determination to reach new heights of badness that day. While the rest of the girls were in assembly, I roamed the school looking for mischief. Needless to say, I found it. I mixed up all the books in our school desks and threw some out of the window in an impulsive gesture. I scribbled over my fellow students’ artwork decorating the walls with a fat stick of charcoal I stole from the art room. I raged around the school, leaving destruction in my wake.
Still angry, I stomped towards my classroom, dragging the charcoal along the wall as I went, when I spied the cloakroom out of the corner of my eye. A row of school raincoats hung on a peg for each girl in the school, every coat neatly hung and topped with that most hated object; the school boater. I dropped the charcoal and sloped into the cloakroom.
It wouldn’t have been beyond the wit of man for my teacher to follow the trail of revenge and find the culprit but, as it happened, my teacher came upon me just as I was putting my furious foot through the very last hat in the school.
Needless to say, I was taken straight to the Headmistress’s office where I sat for the rest of the day, working alone. The clock hands moved so slowly that day. When the hands crawled round to half past two I was still chewing my pencil and doodling “I hate Miss Box” on the front of my exercise books when the door to the office was flung open, and my form teacher marched in, looking murderous. She grabbed me under my arm and hauled me to my feet, pushing me out of the room towards the Hall.
As she marched me along, she informed me, that for the first time in many years, a special assembly had been called, and I was to attend. I was surprised when, instead of pushing me down on one of the benches, she walked me to the front of the Hall and up the steps of the stage, to where a chair was waiting for me.
I sat there, squirming, while the rest of the school trouped in and took up the space on the benches while the teaching staff sat at the edges of the Hall. Once the doors had been closed, my Headmistress marched onto the stage and ignored me as she turned to address the school.
“Girls, I shall come straight to the point. I have called a special assembly because this morning, one of MY pupils saw fit to commit a string of VANDALOUS acts against this school! Miss Rosy Lee was not only late for school, she defaced school art with offensive graffiti, destroyed valuable school books and performed some other more childish acts of defiance and drew on the walls like a five year old, which is how I intend to punish her. As her little defiant spree affected all of you in the wilful destruction of your property, I have also decided to carry out that punishment in front of all of you.”
For the first time, I leaned forward slightly and saw, in her right hand, a large black plimsoll. I shrank into the chair and raised my eyes to the heavens as I realised what was in store for me.
The Headmistress went on. “As you know, all offences committed by pupils of this school, can be punished according to our Christian principles, which means a spanking, either with the hand, or for more serious offences, the slipper. Punishments are usually carried out by myself in the privacy of my office. However, Miss Rosie Lee has disgraced herself so badly, and behaved so wickedly, she thoroughly deserves to have her bottom soundly spanked in public. Now let this be a lesson to you girls, this school does not approve of bad behaviour, and what you are about to witness happening to Rosy Lee, could happen to any one of you, should you choose that path.” She turned her steely gaze on me for the first time. “Stand up, Rosy!”
I sat on my hands and stared at the floor. She didn’t give me a heartbeat in which to defy her. She pulled me to my feet, spun me round and before I could squeak, she bent me over so I had to grab the seat of the chair with both my hands. My face flushed instantly with sudden shame, but there was worse to come. With a quick flick of her deft fingers, she took the hem of my skirt and flicked it up and over my back, exposing my navy school knickers and my round buttocks which still bore my mother’s handprints. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly against the mortification of what my classmates could see. To this very day, I still want to curl up into a foetal cringe ball when this moment passes through my mind.
“THWACK!” The slipper smacked me, full force, across both my bottom cheeks, searing them instantly red like a flash cooked steak. I just had time to gasp with pain when the slipper came down again. The Head didn’t count and neither did I. She spanked me good and hard, bringing that slipper down, the sound of that hard rubber sole on my bottom echoing around the silent hall, leaving trails of fire behind it. By the fifth stroke my head hit my fists on the chair seat, which only served to lift my bottom higher. At the eighth stroke I cried out and tears began to course down my face. By the tenth stroke, my legs could no longer support me but the Head wasn’t finished with me just because of that. She gripped the waistband of my skirt and held me up with one strong hand, my feet almost off the floor as I hung limply there, having my bottom beaten as my schoolfriends watched.
At last she dropped me, but she wouldn’t let me fall to the floor and cover my face as I wanted to. She held me by the scruff of my neck, shaking me for emphasis as she told the school: “And THAT’S what happens to naughty, disobedient, wicked girls in THIS school. Take heed! School dismissed.”
I was taken back to the Head’s office to await collection by my parents who had been told of my misdeeds and my expulsion. They drove me home in stony silence. As soon as we got in through the door, my mother told me in a tight, pinched voice: “Just you get to your room, Rosy Lee. I don’t want to see your face! Your father will be up to deal with you shortly.”
I sat on my bedroom floor, awaiting my father’s heavy footfall on the stairs, dreading everything that sound would mean, and quietly shredding my hateful school uniform with a giant pair of dressmaking shears.