At the girls’ school I attended from age eleven, corporal punishment was a regular occurrence, but back at primary school, spankings were rare and when they happened they were big news. Only the headmaster ever spanked the pupils, with a female teacher present if the pupil was a girl, and although very few children ever experienced it, it was an accepted fact that when he spanked he spanked extremely hard. So I was understandably nervous on the one occasion I found myself outside his office, my destiny unknown. I was seven or eight years old and sitting at a table

It was a hot, late summer’s Saturday evening. I was about 14 at the time and full of spots and hormones. Lucy, by contrast, was a goddess, or she was to all the lads on the street. At 18-years-old, almost 6 feet tall, slim, short blond hair and legs that seemed to go on forever. I was lucky, she lived next door and I often got to see her sunbathing with her girlfriends in the garden. It was an evening like any other, well up until about 9.00 pm, just as it was going dark. Mum was out with a friend across the road, but

Christmas morning.  about 5am. I knocked on my parents’ bedroom door. “Can I go down and open my presents now, please?” “For goodness sake, Harriet. It’s not even light yet. Get back to bed this instant.” “But Mum, please. I can’t sleep.” “No. Get back to bed. You can open your presents when I get up at seven o’clock.” “But Mum.” “I said ‘no’, Harriet. If I hear another word from you you’ll be opening your presents with a sore bottom! Do you understand?” I went back to bed and lay there, wide awake and frustrated, until, a long while later,

I attended high school in Oklahoma, leaving for college in 2018. When I was in 8th grade, I was in an English class taught by Mrs T. She was a lovely lady really, quite thickset and not that tall. She usually wore beige or brown skirt suits that kind of went with her mousey brown hair. Normally, I was well-behaved, especially in her classes because she made things sound interesting and I really liked her. One day, though, I was in a kind of mischievous mood and concentrating on the lesson wasn’t high on my agenda. I fooled around a

I have a vivid memory, back in the late 1990s, of the headmistress of my junior school calling my stepdad out of work to collect me from school. I had been caught stealing from the tuck shop. I had been excluded from school for 2 weeks. I was 11-years-old. As soon as, he arrived, I was terrified. At that point, he was my mum’s boyfriend of about 4 months and had recently moved in with us. My mother was out of town at the time, and he was the closest person able to come to school and get me. While

I was fourteen years old and my parents considered me old enough to be left at home without the need for a babysitter. My sister was out at a friend’s house, and my best friend Sarah was round at ours. Mum and Dad were going out to a concert in town and we would have the house to ourselves. It was a Friday, so we had no school in the morning, and Sarah was allowed to stay until ten o’clock. At around half past six, as my parents were leaving the house, Mum kissed me goodbye and told me to

It was English double period. Mrs Bateman was droning away about Shakespeare. “Who is ever going to need to know this tripe?” whispered Vicky, whom I sat next to. “Too true,” I confirmed as quiet as a mouse, because Mrs B had the hearing and stealth of a barn owl. And the looks too, actually. I am sure her head could swivel the whole way around. Mrs B finished the lesson. Vicky dashed out of the room. “What did the old bat say at the end? I missed it,” I asked Chelsea, who was sitting in front of me. “She said to

I was in the supermarket yesterday when I bumped into a woman I had been at school with. We got chatting about the usual stuff, what our children were doing now, grandkids, the hideous new office development blocking all the sun from the town hall square, etc, when suddenly we heard shouting. Looking around, we saw a younger woman and her daughter, who looked about nine or ten. I don’t know what the girl had done, but the mother had had enough of her doing it, and was letting her know. To make sure she understood, her words were followed by a

On Thursdays, it was my habit after tea to go down the street to my friend Lisa’s house and watch Top of the Pops. My sister Rebecca was at Girl Guides on Thursdays and my parents had the pleasure of a few hours to themselves. On this particular Thursday, I had gone round at about half past six and Lisa and I were in her kitchen getting drinks of squash when she said she had something to show me. “Look at this,” said Lisa. “It’s amazing. An unbreakable cup. Watch.” She picked it up and dropped it on the floor where it

I walked home glumly on a cold, windy January Friday afternoon. I had an envelope for my mother in my school bag. It had the ‘official’ results from the mock exams I had taken two weeks ago. My mother, who happened to be a teacher at another school, had been warning me through the Christmas holidays that I needed to get my head down and study, but that, as usual with a teenager, fell very much on deaf ears. Even the threat of being punished at home if my grades were poor did little to galvanise my attitude and work ethic. Needless to say, I had struggled on