In the late 1950s and early 1960s corporal punishment was fairly common. I think all kids looked upon smacked bottoms and the like as an occupational hazard. Girls, especially, often got their legs smacked. I suppose my mother was probably no stricter than many other parents at the time. I’d get my bottom or legs smacked from time to time, just for the normal kids naughtiness. And as I got older mother started taking me across her knee and flipping my skirts up before smacking me, and she also produced an old slipper of father’s which I felt a few times.

I was sent to boarding school and soon discovered that several of the teachers used the slipper, and the headmistress caned girls for serious infractions. There was one old teacher who used the ruler on our hands, but that never hurt for more than a few minutes. We had to hold out our non-writing hand and she’d whack it with a heavy wooden ruler, usually 2 or 3 times. There were about 4 or 5 teachers who used the slipper. We always had to bend over, of course, and usually got it across our knickers after skirt and slip had been raised. One teacher always put the girl across her knee, even as we got older, and that added to the embarrassment. The worst smacked bottom I ever got with the slipper was 8 whacks, but I can’t for the life of me remember what I did wrong.

We had a teacher I’ll call Miss L. She was quite young, maybe 25 or so, and she really enjoyed disciplining the girls.

“Come to the front of the class,” she would say with a broad grin on her face.

Whichever girl she called out would find herself bottom in the air waiting to be spanked. Sometimes she would make us bend over the desk, sometimes just with our hands on our knees. Maybe she would raise our skirts and spank us across the knickers, maybe she spanked across the skirt. We never knew in advance, she was inventive, I’ll give her that.

She called girls by their Christian names in ordinary teaching, Christian name and surname when you were summoned to the front of the class, and surname only for spanking. And spanking in her case was usually her hand, whereas for the other teachers it was usually the slipper. We used to joke that she soaked her hand in alcohol from the science lab to harden it. That woman could seriously spank.

Once she had to leave the classroom so, like kids do, we started talking and larking about. When she came back in the room there were 6 or 7 of us stood up. She walked down between the desks and asked each girl why she was stood up. Nobody had an answer, of course, so each of us had our skirt lifted and were smacked 3 times on the top of each leg.

The first time I was caned was when three of us went out of bounds from school. There was no specific reason that I can remember, we just did it like kids do. But we got caught, and sent to the headmistress. We knew we were in trouble because other girls had been caned for doing what we had done. She kept us waiting outside her office and then called us in one by one, I was first, the long crook-handled cane was on her desk so no doubt what I was going to get. She lectured me, can’t for the life of me remember what she said.

I replied, “Yes, miss,” and “No, miss,” at what seemed to be the appropriate points.

She ordered me to bend over her desk, then I felt her raising my skirts up to my waist and laying the cane on my bottom, I suppose she was taking aim. I got 2 strokes across my knickers. I’d probably been slippered 2 or 3 times by then but this was in a different league. When people say you hear the swish and thwack and the burning pain is a split second later, that’s about right. I managed to avoid screaming out or crying. It was difficult, but I knew from other girls that you were supposed to take your punishment without movement or noise. When she’d done I was told to stand up and make myself decent, in other words straighten my skirts. She told me I was dismissed and to send the next girl in. After all 3 of us had been caned we went to the toilets and compared marks. We could see the stripes that she had left on us.

My second visit to the headmistress was for another 2 strokes and, to make it worse, it was on a Saturday. We had lessons on Saturday mornings, but in the afternoon we were allowed to change out of our uniforms and go into the local town. I was wearing a new dress and I felt very grown-up that afternoon. Me and my friends got talking to some local boys. Nothing happened but I lost track of time with the boy I was talking to and, even though I ran back to school, I was caught at the gate by one of the teachers for being 10 minutes late back. Sent to see the crusty old headmistress again, told that I was going to be gated for the next 2 weekends and that I was to get 2 strokes to remind me of timekeeping. Pretty much like before, over the desk, dress and slip raised and received 2 stingers. They seemed harder than last time, though. I don’t think I told any of the other girls and nobody saw the marks. I slept on my stomach for the next couple of days.

Then there was the time I got 3 strokes for losing my temper in a netball match against another school. A girl in the other team pushed me for some reason, I can’t remember why, so I pushed her back. She landed on the floor and started screaming that I’d hit her. The little cow was exaggerating, a bit like some footballers do nowadays! I was sent off and the games mistress told me I was in big trouble. I thought she’d probably give me a hard slippering. After all, games mistresses were good at that. But no, she sent me to the headmistress, still in my games kit.

The headmistress wasn’t happy, told me I was a disgrace to the school and stuff like that, then produced her cane. The routine was familiar by now, bend over the desk, my games skirt lifted, the cane placed across my knickers as she took aim. She gave me 3 strokes, scolding me with each one. I was a disgrace, I deserved to be caned, she hoped I was getting a lesson that I wouldn’t forget, and things like that. When she’d finished she simply said that I was dismissed.

When I got back to the changing rooms, the other team had left, probably for the best, but I had to tell my team mates that I’d been caned. My bum was inspected by the other girls in the shower. This time the embarrassment and humiliation wasn’t that obvious. The rest of the team thought the other girl was a bitch. I agreed with them.