I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and while spanking was, I think, still in common practice in my neighborhood, it had already gotten a certain stigma attached to it, mainly from well-intentioned liberals who could not differentiate between abuse and discipline that came from a loving place. My folks were, and are, progressive liberals with strong social consciences, but they also are very old-fashioned in their beliefs on raising kids.

All of us, I am the oldest of four, with a younger sister and two younger brothers, were spanked into our mid-teens. To be clear, our parents were heavily involved in our lives and provided, sometimes at great sacrifice from them, all that we could ask, both materially and emotionally. We were always cared for and knew that we were loved. Equally, they were clear on expectations and consequences, and there was no ambiguity or inconsistency in either.

As I said, the stigma attached to parental spanking meant that it was not discussed in the open and never outside the family. I often felt like I was the only teen in the world who was still getting her bare bottom spanked, and that often felt very lonely and isolating. It was comforting, at least, that I had a set of cousins, the children of my mom’s sister, who also grew up in a spanking household and whose parents shared the same views on it as my parents did.

There were six kids in that house: My cousin, Judith, known as Judi, was a couple months older than me. We were, and are, extremely close and often shared our experiences and feelings on being spanked and were frequent consolers, each of the other. I got my last spanking at 16 1/2, but Judi was still getting them as a high school senior.  Judi is actually my uncle’s niece. My aunt and uncle took her in when she was 8 or 9 and formally adopted her when she was 10 (long story). She grew up in that house and thinks of my aunt and uncle as her parents. The oldest of my aunt and uncle’s biological kids are twins, Jackson and Jordan, two years younger than Judi, followed closely by Julia, a year younger, and Jason, a year younger than Julia. My aunt and uncle later added another boy, Jeremiah, who is about 5 years younger than Jason.

Like my mom, my aunt was a first-response spanker. Though she tended to let more things slide than my mom did, probably because of the sheer number of kids there, spankings were not rare there, and, unlike my house, were always done in the open in front of whatever family happened to be there. With the exception of the youngest boy, I’d seen each of my cousins on the receiving end at least once, bent over getting the paddle applied to their bare bottoms. My aunt also believed in ‘while you are a guest here, I expect you to follow the rules’ and I had found myself in that bent-over position a handful of times when I stayed there over the years.

When this recollection took place, I was 18, already married, and living with my husband in a studio apartment over my in-laws’ garage. My mom called me on a Friday and asked if I wanted to spend the weekend at her house. My husband was in the Reserves and was away on some training exercise. At first, I thought she wanted to offer me some company so I wouldn’t be all by myself, and while that may have been in true in part, I came to find  out she was watching three of my cousins that weekend, in addition to my youngest brother, so perhaps she may also have been looking for reinforcements.

The twins, who were around 15, were on a travel hockey team and my aunt and uncle were chaperones at some tournament taking place over the border in Canada. My dad was there too, because the older of my younger brothers was on a team in a different age division. My sister was on a sleepover, so that left my brother Patrick, who was 10, Julia, who was 14, Jason, who was 13, and Jeremiah, who was 8, for my mother to corral.

The evening started out well. Though I was not of legal age, mom let me drink while I was there, and I was enjoying some sparkling wine. Mom was making pasta with meatballs, a favourite of the kids. My little brother seemed to be enjoying having Jeremiah around, maybe because it meant he was not the youngest for a change.

That left Julia and Jason. Julia was in the midst of her young teen girl ennui and everything in her body language, tone and expression said she wanted to be anywhere else but where she was. I tried to engage her, but the monosyllabic responses I was getting caused me to throw in the towel. Jason was always moody and sullen, even on a good day, and his mood that night was apparently compounded because he was missing out on some outing with his school buddies. His face was planted into the screen of the Gameboy he brought with him and he barely acknowledged anyone else’s existence.

My mom called everyone down for dinner around 5. And while Patrick and Jeremiah were eager eaters and answered the bell the first time, it took some additional cajoling to get Julia and Jason to the kitchen table. Julia was playing the ‘I’m not hungry’ card and asked to be excused. Mom was being unusually patient, but shot down the request with a terse: “No. If you don’t want to eat, fine, but you can stay here until we have.” That engendered a huff and some mumbles that, again, mom let pass, although I could sense her growing agitation.

Perhaps as a passive aggressive way to get herself away from the table, Julia started fussing with Jason, whom she was seated next to. First, she said she wanted the Gameboy after dinner. That started an argument over what their mom had said about sharing it. My mom refereed that one, and the table fell silent for a few moments.

Then Julia piped up that Jason was kicking her under the table. Jason said he wasn’t. Then Julia told Jason to move over and stop crowding her, punctuating the request with an elbow to Jason’s ribs. Mom intervened again, telling them both to knock it off and settle down.

The snipping and sniping kept up in muted tones for a few more minutes before erupting again when Julia shrieked: “STOP KICKING ME!” and thrust another elbow into Jason. He, in turn, slapped her forearm and she made the move to slap him back. Their voices were raised and there were several words used by both that definitely were not table appropriate.

I can’t say for sure exactly what happened next, but in the scrum that ensued, someone’s hand made contact with the glass milk pitcher on the table, tipping it over onto a porcelain salad bowl. The collision broke the handle of the pitcher, put a significant chip in the bowl, sent salad flying and sent a gusher of milk spilling across the table. Mom jumped up and shooed everyone away from the table in case there was any broken glass. Then, very calmly, she took command of the clean-up, dispatching me for paper towels, clearing away broken dishes and inspecting floor and table for any stray shards. Satisfied, she turned her attention to Julia and Jason, who were standing a few feet away against a wall.

To say their demeanors had changed would be mass understatement. The petulance and sullenness had been replaced by shock and fear. Julia, especially, was trembling and there were tears in her eyes. Mom pointed at her.

“I want you to go upstairs to the closet in the hall and bring down the paddle that’s in there,” she said.

Julia dissolved into sobs and began begging forgiveness.

“It’s too late for that, young lady. I warned you both and now there are going to be consequences.”

She turned to Jason and told him to take one of the kitchen chairs and place it in the middle of the room. Julia returned moments with the paddle, a firm plywood ping-pong paddle that had the rubber removed from one side which had then been sanded and varnished. Julia shakily handed over the paddle to mom.

Mom sat in the chair and had Julia and Jason stand side by side. By this time, the other boys and I had returned to the table and were about 6 feet from where Julia and Jason stood. My mother waved the paddle at both.

“I warned you both. Get those down,” she said, pointing at the sweatpants both were wearing. Now, just as in my house, every spanking at my aunt’s house was given on a bare bottom. Being told to take down pants meant both pants and underwear. It was implicit.

Jason made a sour look, but knew protest was futile and made short work of hiking down sweatpants and boxer briefs to his knees in one motion. Julia, meantime, had dissolved into a fresh set of tears. She gingerly lowered her sweatpants to mid-thigh but stood almost paralyzed in her blue cotton panties with yellow butterflies.

“Quit stalling,” mom snapped, eliciting more crying.

Finally, Julia nervously and slowly shucked down her panties so they joined her pants. Instinctively, she covered her front side with her hands, but mom rebuked her.

“Hands at your sides, young lady.”

Jason and Julia stood to mom’s right, hands at side and heads down, avoiding eye contact.

“Look at me,” mom snapped. “Get your heads up so I can look you in the eye.”

With that, the pre-spanking lecture began in earnest, an event that always seemed longer to me when I was a feature player and not just a spectator. My own experience with mom’s lengthy and elaborate spanking routine had found this part to be the worst of the whole ordeal, even beyond the physical discomfort of the pending spanking. The pre-spanking lecture while you stood there exposed was the ultimate in embarrassment, especially on those occasions where it was witnessed by others.

I had not seen either of these two spanked in at least a couple of years and I took notice of the body changes in both that had taken place in the interim. Julia had been on puberty’s doorstep last time I saw my aunt paddle her. She had lost the baby fat and now, thanks to competitive swimming, was toned and muscular. Her few stray strands of pubic hair had grown to a thicket of whispy auburn that she kept in a tight landing strip.

Jason, meantime, had been a boy in every sense of the word last time I saw him, but that was no longer the case. All of the visible parts of his body were still hairless, except for a thick tuft of reddish-brown hair that looked like a small Brillo pad right above his penis.

My mother motioned for Julia to come over to her. All of the spankings my aunt gave were with you bent over, grabbing the seat of a chair. Over-the-knee spankings were foreign to my cousins and it took a few seconds for Julia to get in position. The first thing I noticed was the toned muscular swimmer’s bottom across mom’s lap and how white it was. Julia had the complexion from her dad’s side, the Irish side of their family. Her toes touched the floor and her hands grabbed the chair rungs.

Mom did no talking once the lecture ended and you went over her knee. When Julia was properly positioned, the paddle went up and then landed with a firm THWAK on her bare bottom. Her legs did a small fish tail and she croaked out: “One, ma’am.”

Like at our house, they had to count swats at their house, but my aunt insisted on the “ma’am” after each one. My mom had a set cadence of swat, count, pause, pause, THWAK. She definitely was not using maximum force but the swats were firm enough to elicit yelps, squeaks and ouches, and have Julia swim, kick and buck from time to time. Her behind was rapidly moving from hot pink to hot red and I noticed her voice getting higher pitched with each swat.

Mom gave swats in groups of 12, and this day Julia took two dozen before mom let her up. She commenced to doing the spanking dance with her sweats and panties now bunched around her knees, not noticing my saucer-eyed little brother with his eyes locked on her crotch. After a few moments Mom sent her back to trade places with Jason and called him over.

Jason shuffled over to mom and draped himself across her knee. His older brothers inherited the thicker athletic frames of their dad’s side, but Jason had the build of his mom’s and my mom’s side, lean and slim. He was still on the short side, maybe around 5 feet, but he had long legs and a small round bum. I don’t know for sure if mom was paddling him harder, but the swats sounded louder and Jason seemed to buck and twist more under them. I could tell he was trying to be macho and tough it out, but there was a distinctive grunt that he made with each swat and his breathing was becoming more rapid. He, too, earned two dozen swats, and when he was told to get up, he stood in place giving both cheeks a vigorous rub.

Mom banished Julia to an empty corner of the kitchen and Jason to a corner between the pantry and the refrigerator. We finished our interrupted dinner with the sight of two fire-engine-red bottoms staring out at us. Mom had us clear away plates and load the dishwasher, and during that time she disappeared upstairs. She called down for me to get dessert, chocolate éclairs, out and put them on the table.

When she returned, the eclairs were on the table and Julia and Jason were still planted nose first in their respective corners. From her apron pocket, mom pulled two small hotel size bars of Ivory soap and a wooden hairbrush, the rectangular mahogany brush that had been so often used on my bare bottom, including for my last spanking not more than a year and a half earlier. I felt my own butt tighten and I shifted in my seat just seeing it.

Mom sat down again in the kitchen chair and called Julia and Jason out. Seeing the brush, Jason gulped and Julia started to tremble and cry again.

“I heard some highly inappropriate language from both of you, language that I don’t allow in this house.”

She summoned over Julia, who mini-stepped her way over and was a mess of tears even before she went over mom’s knee. In terms of impact, these swats were definitely more firm and produced a crsip SMACK! that echoed around the room.

The brush, from my own experience, packed a wallop. It was probably 4 inches long by 3 or 3.5 inches wide, with a long handle. Mom kept that same cadence; SMACK, count, pause, pause, then brought another swat down, sometimes on the opposite side, sometimes in the same spot. Swats six and seven were reserved for the tops of Julia’s thighs where they met her bottom. She let out a throaty howl with each and scissor kicked her legs. After delivering the 12th firm smack, mom told Julia, now a mess of snot and tears, to stand up and for Jason to come and take her place.

Jason climbed over mom’s lap. I don’t think he was anticipating the intensity of the brush, and he let out a clear gasp after the first swat and found it increasingly difficult to hang on to his macho persona as the brush found its target, especially the two that landed at the tops of his thighs. Those swats broke him and he began to cry openly. When he had gotten his dozen, he was allowed to stand up and he vigorously rubbed his now crimson bottom.

Julia and Jason had one further indignity to suffer. Mom unwrapped the Ivory bars and popped one into each of their mouths. They were dispatched back to the corner, and while we ate our eclairs, they got to keep a bar of soap between their teeth. When we finished dessert, mom called them out, let them pull up their pants, take out the soap and rinse their mouths. Then, they had to finish cleaning up the kitchen before getting sent to bed early.

Epilogue: A more subdued but far more polite Julia and Jason sat down gingerly for breakfast on Saturday. I could detect a wince or two when they shifted in their chairs. My mom never made mention of the previous night and she never told my aunt what happened. Nevertheles, Julia and Jason still got in trouble at home for the incident at their aunt’s house. Jeremiah squealed, giving my aunt all the details, and Sunday night Julia and Jason found themselves, according to my cousin Judi, in the kitchen, each getting a dozen licks with the vinyl mini-blind wand known as ‘The Stick’ on their bare behinds.