My most embarrassing memory of high school was two years ago when I was fourteen and I had been in a fight with another girl in the hall between lessons. It was a silly argument really, about some boy we both liked the look of. He was at least two years older than us, though, so it wasn’t like he was boyfriend material or anything. Of course, we were soon separated by some older students and a couple of teachers, and then we both got sent to Mr B’s office, our school principal.
Fighting was always a big no-no, so like it was serious. Paddling was pretty mandatory for that offence. That was back in 2017 and it’s still treated the same today.
Mr B was a tall, thin man with thin balding dark hair. I think he preferred administration to teaching, because I never knew anyone who had him as a teacher, even in our small high school. He gave us both the opportunity to state our cases, but really neither of us had much to say. We both got awarded five swats with the paddle. It came as no surprise, and I don’t think either of us showed much emotion.
Now it was around that time, at least in South Carolina, that paddling was becoming a little less used. Our high school decided they’d change the rules surrounding the administration of a paddling and it meant that a parent had to be contacted before a paddling took place. The parent then had the option of coming into school and witnessing it, or even to do it themselves if they preferred.
So, the other girl, Sara W, and me got sent to the secretaries’ station to phone home and speak to our mothers. That was the most embarrassing moment of my life!
‘Hi mom. Got into a bit of a fight with Sara W. They’re going to paddle us. Can you come into school and witness?’
Actually, the conversation was a whole lot more difficult. Of course, mom recognized my cellphone number straight off and she was worried something really, really serious had happened. It went something like:
“Caitlin? What’s happened? Are you all right?”
“It’s okay, mom, just a bit of trouble at school.”
“Trouble? What? Tell me!”
“I just got into a bit of a fight with Sara, that’s all, mom.”
I remember mom didn’t speak for what seemed a long time, although probably was just a few seconds. Then she asked what it was all about. I explained Sara was a girl in my year who I didn’t particularly get on with. Then, of course, mom had to ask what they were going to do about it.
“Um,” I took a few breaths. “Um, they’re er…”
“What?” Mom almost yelled.
“We’re both getting paddled, mom.” I groaned for effect, in case it helped.
“Yes mom, it’s like the standard penalty for fighting and stuff.”
“So, are you expecting me to object or something? Is that what you want me to do?”
“No!” I answered in the negative, although there probably was a little bit of me that wondered if mom might object, and maybe I had the odd hope or two pinned on it.
“So what? What do you want me to do, honey?”
Honey? Mom was sounding sympathetic. How could I make that work for me?
“It’s the rules, mom. Since a couple of years back. You have to be contacted before they can do it. You either have to witness or do it yourself.”
“Hold on, you’re saying I need to come into school? What, now?”
“They can’t do it until you get here, mom. I told them you worked, but they insisted I call you. Can you leave work?”
“Well, yes, I suppose I can.”
“Okay. See you in half an hour?”
“Wait up a moment. What’s happening to this other girl? Sara, was it?”
“She’s getting paddled too. Her mom’s on her way in.”
Mom sighed. I waited for her to speak.
“Okay, I’m on my way.”
Phone calls made, Sara and I were told to sit in the hallway just by the secretaries’ station. I guess they wanted to keep an eye on us in case we got into another fight. Our two chairs were set about six feet apart and we both stared directly ahead with no kind of communication between us.
Twenty minutes later, Sara’s mother arrived. She checked in at the counter. When she turned away, she took a quick angry glance in my direction and they both were taken away by one of the secretaries to a room down the hallway.
My mom arrived ten minutes later, looking flushed. She had a quick word with another of the secretaries and we were both led off to another small interview room next to where Sara and her mother had been taken. Inside was just a small table and four chairs. We all sat down.
The secretary was an older woman, Mrs C, who was short and dumpy, but she had a kind face. She outlined what had happened while mom sat grim-faced, especially when Mrs C confirmed Sara and I were both getting five swats each.
Mom asked if there was any other option, and Mrs C explained I could be suspended from all school activities for two weeks. It kind of appealed, although I liked school and I’m sure mom would have grounded me and not allowed me out at all. It would be kind of boring, and I’d lose all my grades. Then mom asked about the paddling.
“You have a choice, Mrs H,” the secretary explained. “Either Mr B will administer the five swats. In that case, you will be asked to observe along with another member of staff, probably me. But you may, if you prefer, administer the paddling yourself, in which case Mr B and myself will witness.”
“I’ve never paddled anyone, let alone Caitlin, in my life,” mom declared.
“No matter, Mr B will gladly offer any guidance you need. Or indeed, he will paddle Caitlin if you prefer.”
Mom looked at me and then down at the floor while she worked things out in her mind. Somewhere around then, there was a stir from next door. The door opened and I heard footsteps out in the hallway. Sara was obviously up first. I wondered whether she was taking a suspension or the paddle, and it would somehow have been good to know.
“Can I take Caitlin home and spank her there?” Mom suddenly asked.
“No, we prefer you to do it here, if you intend to carry out the punishment yourself. That way, we can ensure the punishment is adequate but not excessive, and both girls will then have the same paddle used, so they get treated equally.”
Mom nodded thoughtfully. “Okay, so what happens next?”
“Have you settled on the paddling?” Mrs had such a sympathetic, caring look on her face. Did she not realise paddlings hurt?
Mom looked at me and raised an eyebrow. I nodded back in the affirmative. With that slight movement of my head, I had condemned myself to getting my butt whipped.
Things then happened very quickly. In no time we were heading along the hall towards the principal’s office, and Mrs C, mom and me all sat down just outside the office. We could hear murmurings from inside, but within thirty seconds the door opened and Sara, her mom and another secretary all came out. Sara looked upset and a little tearful, but it was only when they were twenty yards or so down the hall that Sara actually gave her butt a bit of a rub through her jeans. They left the door open, though, and I could see Mr B standing up at his desk, a wooden paddle in his hand.
Mrs C stood up and pushed her head into the principal’s office.
“Are you ready for us, Mr B?”
“Come on in,” he replied.
Mrs C held the door while mom and me went in. Immediately apparent was the fact Mr B had pushed all his stuff to one end of his desk, leaving just over half clear. He still stood there idly patting the palm of his left hand with the paddle.
I can’t honestly say the paddle looked that scary. It had a blade less than a foot and a half long. It was about four inches wide and it had a handle around eight inches long. It was no more than half an inch thick. It was also very pale in color and looked to be carefully finished off with rounded edges.
Mr B and my mom exchanged greetings, and then he got straight to the point.
“Am I paddling Caitlin or will you do it, Mrs H?”
Mom looked at me, but I didn’t know how to respond.
“I guess Caitlin should choose,” mom replied. Her voice was hesitant and she looked nervous.
Suddenly, everyone was looking at me. I had been kinda hoping mom would do it, but she looked so miserable I had another think about it. I glanced at mom three or four times, but still she looked so unhappy I was really feeling for her.
I looked at Mr B. “Please, sir, would you do it?”
My heart really started pounding away the moment I got the words out. He was a big guy, well tall, and I immediately convinced myself he was really going to swing that paddle against my butt. He looked, well, satisfied at my choice, and how could I possibly retract my decision?
“Okay, Caitling,” he said quietly. “You just step forward and bend over my desk.” He pointed at the clear end of the desk.
It was only a couple of paces from where I was standing to the front edge of the desk, but they were still tough steps to take. I was trembling and my legs felt like they would give way at any moment. I bent forward and got down onto that hard polished wood, almost grateful for the support.
I was immediately waiting for the first lick to whack me hard across my butt, but no, there was more talking.
“Mrs H, Caitlin’s skirt is loose-fitting and it kind of hides exactly where I should aim for. Could you adjust it, please?”
My skirt was thin cotton in a blue and white floral pattern, nice and cool for the warm weather, clearly not so good for a paddling. This sudden delay almost had me in tears.
Then I felt mom gathering my skirt together in front of me and trying to tuck it in somehow. She wasn’t having much success.
“How about if I hold it like this, Mr B?” I heard mom saying as she crouched down by my side.
“Yes, I can get a good swing like that, Mrs H. Just keep as clear as you can in case Caitlin jerks and kicks you.”
I was not happy! I’d been bent over this solid uncomfortable desk for what felt like several minutes and still had not had one strike of my spanking. My face was close to the surface and my forearms were resting on it, and they were beginning to feel sore. I’d have felt more comfortable taking the damn dress off, but I wasn’t going to make that suggestion!
“Everyone ready?” Mr B said as he patted my behind with the paddle.
No one said anything, but he still whipped that paddle down hard and my butt exploded in pain. Ouch!
With very little pause, a second swat landed, and then a third. I gasped for breath.
“You okay, Caitlin?” Mr B asked.
“Can I have a minute, sir?” I responded.
Thankfully, he gave me several minutes to get my breath back and kina come to terms with my sore, aching backside.
“Two to go, Caitlin. Say when you’re ready.” Mr B’s voice was calm and controlled. I could get no idea whether he liked spanking my butt. He just seemed to want to be efficient about it.
I paused. Somehow it seemed good to put it off as long as I could, but what was the point?
I braced myself, and sure enough another lick slammed into my butt. A few tears immediately began rolling down my face, and I felt the need to blow my nose.
Before I could really think about it, the fifth and final swat crashed into my behind. Time seemed to stand still. I think I was incapable of any rational thought. I just knew my backside hurt like anything and it positively throbbed with pain.
Then I heard mom’s voice. “Come on, honey. It’s all over.” I never heard her so soft and sensitive since I was a child.
As I eased up from the desk, Mr B thrust a box of Kleenex under my nose, and I took several.
“If you fight, you get paddled, Caitlin. Them’s the rules,” Mr B said as I stood up straight and looked at him.
I rubbed my behind through the seat of my skirt, but I’m not sure that helped. At least Mr B gave me a pass for the remainder of the school day, and mom was allowed to take me home. The car seat was extremely uncomfortable for the whole of the journey. I checked my butt in the mirror on the door of my wardrobe and it was quite bruised. It was six days before all the marks were gone.
At school, Sara and I seemed to get on better than ever before. It seemed having something in common, having shared a similar experience, brought us closer, although we never became friends.
Note: This memory came from a telephone conversation between Caitlin and me. I’ve tried to record it as accurately as possible. Kenny Walters.