I was raised in Texas with three siblings: a sister two years my junior, and brothers two years my senior and three years my junior respectively. So, at the time of this incident, my oldest brother was 16, I was 14, my sister 12, and my younger brother 11. We were raised in a very loving household with fairly lax rules, but our parents were pretty traditional, and pretty consistent, in enforcing those rules. For small offenses we might get a warning or a time out, or on rare occasions a grounding, but for anything major or anything repeated, it was a spanking. If it was from Dad, it was with his belt. If it was from Mom, it was her wooden spoon that she kept atop the fridge.
Dad was a trucker, and traveled a lot. For my brothers, if they misbehaved while he was away, my mother usually did the ‘wait till your dad comes home’ approach, though she did occasionally go after them with her spoon. On rare occasions Dad would follow up a second time when he got home. For the girls, she usually dealt with it immediately, unless it was something major. This led to a de facto double standard: the boys got most of their spankings from dad, with a belt. The girls got spanked with the belt more often than not if dad was at home, but since he mostly wasn’t home, we mostly got it with the spoon.
Our brothers argued this wasn’t fair. To them, I always tried to argue it was, because mom spanked on bare skin, on our thighs just below the panty line, whereas dad spanked over underwear, and mom usually gave more swats than dad. Mom usually averaged about one swat per year of age whereas dad usually maxed out at 5-8 licks. In spite of this claim, however, underneath I was really worried about the belt. So worried, that I more or less always avoided it. If Dad was around, I was on top behavior. I had a very healthy fear of pain and that led me to generally watch myself, so I got less overall spankings than any of my siblings to begin with, but the most remarkable thing was that I made it until I was 14 before earning the belt from my Dad. And that was the only time he ever took his belt to me, though I did get the belt from my grandpa when I was 16 and spending the summer on his farm. But I digress.
I’d had a couple of close calls, some warnings that were near the line of a spanking, and one time that I earned a spanking and lucked out that mom grabbed the spoon even though Dad was at home. I later found out that was on purpose. My parents knew I feared the belt that much, and since I was so over the top good to avoid it, they mostly were trying to help me continue to avoid it unless I really earned it. Mostly though, it was my good behaviour caused by fear of the belt that was the primary thing that protected me. Protected me that is, until it didn’t.
At 14 I was almost obnoxiously typical. I was pretty but not beautiful, neither tall nor short, neither flat chested nor buxom, a thoroughly good and smart student but not the honors achievement girl either. I liked reading and music, but wasn’t serious enough about either of them. I disliked math and science, but not so much as to not do reasonably well in them. I was, all around, your typical 14-year-old girl. The one everyone likes, but no one lists as their ‘favourite’ friend or student.
The incident in questioned happened on an autumn Wednesday, and Dad was out on a work trip and scheduled to be home late that night. I was grounded that week, relatively rare for me, because I’d gotten a really bad grade in PE class when report cards came out, all because I was goofing off in class. The fact that it was ‘just’ PE is what saved my tail, but the fact the reason for the poor grade was so much my fault, goofing off, was why I still got a consequence beyond just the grade. In spite of being grounded, I had permission to stop at a friend’s house after school to do homework. We got the homework done in half the time I thought it would take. I should have headed straight home, but instead I decided to stay and watch TV with my friend. I ended up staying a bit longer than I had told mom it would take, but figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was a good student, a good kid, almost never in trouble, and used to getting a lot less questions than my siblings. Good behaviour breeds trust which, ironically, makes it easier to blur the boundaries a bit sometimes.
I walked home from my friend’s house a bit faster than usual, just to be safe, but I wasn’t all that worried. I was wearing a turtleneck sweater and a cotton skirt with boots. I remember I was wearing pink bikini panties and I almost always wore a black or pink t-shirt bra with front closures. My hair was hanging loose, though I probably had a hair tie on one wrist. I was carrying a purse and a backpack.
I came in through the front door, sliding my purse and backpack onto the coat hooks almost in one motion. My heart stopped when I swung around and saw that my mom had met me at the door with her wood spoon already in her hand. I later found out that she had called to see why I was running late, and my friend’s mom had unwittingly let the cat out of the bag that I had just recently left because I stayed and watched TV. Not knowing this, I just assumed she had jumped to conclusions because I was late and hadn’t called. Instinctively, I realized that not calling was a mistake and so I immediately started to minimize damage by apologizing, saying I was wrong not to call, that I had been doing work, it took longer than I thought, etc. And at that moment my Dad walked out of the kitchen. He had apparently gotten home early, and he said: “Don’t you lie to your mother.” My heart stopped yet again. There was no bigger rule in our house than to be honest, especially to our parents.
I started stammering. I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to formulate something to say, but all my confidence was gone, and I was just stammering trying to start a sentence that might never actually have come. And it never had a chance to. Dad had stopped in the doorway between the kitchen and living room, waiting for me to say something. When I couldn’t muster anything, he took to action.
The memory of the sound as he unbuckled his belt and yanked it out of the loops still sends chills down my spine. I’d heard it a few times before when one of my siblings was about to get it, and it always had that effect. But nothing prepared me for hearing it, knowing it was about to be applied to my own rear end. I swear I heard it before I even saw it.
Dad had the belt looped in half in one hand and the other hand reached out toward me. He closed the distance between us in an instant, gently grabbing me by the elbow and saying: “Come with me.”
You could have heard a pin drop. My sister and younger brother, who were on the couch watching TV, were staring at me with jaws wide open. I didn’t know what to do or say. I was stunned. I tried to plead a little, but I instinctively followed him as he led me around the corner into the kitchen. I kept my head down in both fear and shame.
I was almost out of breath I was so nervous, and it all went so fast, which made it all the worse. Mom usually lectured a lot, made you answer a lot of ‘yes/no ma’am’ questions. Dad, apparently, didn’t feel the need. He gave me about a two-sentence lecture about breaking grounding and lying, and apparently felt I knew what I was in trouble for. In fairness, that’s true, I did.
He reached out with a small grunt, moved a kitchen table chair away from the table, and told me to: “Lift up your skirt, bend over the back of the chair, and grab ahold of the seat.”
I did. I was nervous but knew better than to be anything other than compliant. I hiked my skirt up above my panties, bent over and grabbed the seat, hair falling in my face.
I knew from mom to keep my feet about shoulder width apart. I was scared and my mind was racing. Dad moved behind me, and before I could even adjust to my new situation, I heard a swish, and then a CRACK.
It was the most searing pain I’d ever felt in my life. Way worse than I’d ever imagined. And instead of being isolated to one little spot like mom’s spoon, it was a line across my entire caboose. I was on fire, and I let out a yelp instantly. Any thoughts of remaining stoic, like my brothers often did, flew out the window on the first crack. And that wasn’t all. Dad didn’t really pause much in between.
CRACK. CRACK. CRACK.
Three more swats fell in rapid fire across my bottom before I knew what was even happening, and I was already bawling uncontrollably. I had told myself to look down or forward, but instead I was trying to peer back, to see if he was going to keep going. And he was. Still no hesitation on Dad’s part.
CRACK. CRACK. CRACK. Three more fell, this time across my upper thighs, all in almost the exact same spot. By the third, I half hopped in pain. I was gasping now with each swat and crying loudly. Dad took a pause, the first he’d taken so far. I got hopeful.
Then I saw him pull his arm back again, and he came forward with one last lick with the most terrible force of any of them. Right across the center of my bottom. CRAAACCCKK.
Dad stood there in silence, maybe stunned. I know I was, as I held onto the seat of the chair for dear life. It slowly became apparent he was done, and I slowly stood up. My skirt fell partially into place, but my hands instinctively reached back and rubbed my very sore behind. Tears were streaming down my face. I turned to face my father.
My dad was still holding the belt as he stared me down, more mercifully than before, but still very serious. He told me I should be ashamed of myself for breaking grounding, but more than anything for lying to my own mother. And that he expected me to march myself instantly into the next room to apologize to my mother. Only then could I be excused to the room I shared with my sister to be alone until dinner time.
It took a second for what he was saying to sink in, as I realized I’d have to make my way back into the living room where two of my siblings sat. They had surely heard the entire thing as there was no real door separating the rooms, and I would have to apologize in front of them. I was aghast. I’d never really been made to apologize after a spanking before. Then again, I’d never really told my mom a direct lie before. One look at Dad confirmed there was no getting out of this and, since he was still holding the belt and didn’t like backtalk, it didn’t seem smart to protest.
I slowly shuffled my feet in what seemed an interminable death march. As I left the room, I saw my Dad begin to put his belt back through the loops on his pants. My hands were still half rubbing my bottom, my face was still red and full of tears. I made it to the couch where my mom was now sitting and managed to mutter a sincere but only half audible apology. Then my feet started running up to my room, where I threw myself on my bed for a long cry. When I finally had to come down to dinner, I squirmed through the entire meal. And I instinctively knew all of my siblings’ eyes were on me.
None of my siblings really tried to make me feel bad, or teased me. But I didn’t get a lot of sympathy either. I think, since they’d all had multiple run-ins with Dad’s belt, it was tough to muster too much sympathy for me having my first. My sister did say a couple of nice words that night when we went to bed, but otherwise they didn’t say much. They just watched. By the next morning my bottom was mostly back to normal, though there was one pink mark on my left butt cheek that felt unpleasant if I sat too hard on it. Mostly I was back to normal.
On the whole, it was a really horrific experience, but I also never lied to my mom again. And my dad never took his belt off again. Not with my bottom in mind anyway. So I guess it all had the desired effect.