The fourth caning I got at school was during my fifth year of secondary school. I know I had received a detention for some reason or the other; to be honest I’ve forgotten what I got it for, but the consequences were dire. The problem was that one of the girls had a birthday and being one of her friends I was invited with some of the girls to the local café after school for tea and cakes. Now  that might not sound much these days when eating out is quite common, but in those days it was quite a spectacular treat which I did not want to miss. So, in the display of teenage foolishness, or foolhardiness, I decided to give the detention a miss in the hope that my absence would not be noticed.

So, it was off to the café after school instead of the detention room. We had a really lovely time with scrumptious cakes and I managed to explain to mum that I had gone after the detention, an explanation which she looked doubtful about, but none-the-less said nothing, much to my relief. My mother was one who tended to allow the school discipline to remain at school rather than sticking her nose in. That is unless too many detention slips were served up for her to sign, and then the slipper might act as an extra reminder to behave!

However, on this occasion nothing was said and I did my homework and went to bed. I was somewhat nervous at going to school in the morning but to my relief nothing was said in assembly and I assumed I’d got away with it.

Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case as during the first period I was summoned to the headmistress’s office and asked to explain why I was not at the detention class. I mumbled an excuse that I had forgotten, but the headmistress said she noticed I had not forgotten to go to my friend’s party. With that, I realised I was done for and confessed all rather tearfully, not to say fearfully.

The head then said the penalty for deliberately skipping detention was six of the best from the cane, something which I knew anyway. She went to the cupboard and produced the traditional cane she kept there. I had had it before, but it still terrified the life out of me.

The head then tapped the small desk at the side of the office and told me to bend over it. She lifted my skirt, tapped my bottom with the cane and then whacked it. I had the usual sensation of feeling momentarily nothing and then a sharp burning pain which was agonising. I caught my breath as the second whack came, which was excruciating, and at the third stroke I started bawling my eyes out. The headmistress was a very just and fair lady, but she certainly wasn’t afraid to hurt girls when they had misbehaved, and after the fourth stroke I stamped my feet. The fifth and sixth whacks of that cane still live with me.

When she finally told me I could get up, I was bawling like a little girl and jumping up and down holding my bottom. The headmistress then gave me a tissue to blow my nose and told me I could go to the medical room, which was next door to her office, to recover for 15 minutes, after which the secretary would tell me to go back to my class. The time passed all too quickly and I had to go back and face the class, all of whom fixed their eyes on me as I went back to my seat and very gingerly sat down on the hard unyielding wooden chair.

Of course, mum was not pleased I had skipped detention and deceived her, but she did think I had received enough punishment and, apart from an early night for a naughty girl, she didn’t punish me any further. Years later, she did tell me she had been caned for a similar offence when she was at school, so I think it was a bit of déjà vu for her!

So there were those delicious cakes at the party, but an awful price to pay for them!  You would have thought that by now I would’ve learned my lesson but, teenage hormones being what they are, it was not my last trip to the headmistress’s office for the cane.