This account recalls my second meeting with the cane while I was at grammar school. After 3 years of unblemished rear end I discovered the pain of a caning in year 4 as previously explained.
At the first assembly in fifth year we were advised that the school had a new head. The surprise was that is was a lady, Mrs Phelps. She was a refined lady in her 40’s, always well dressed in a dress suit. She was approximately 5 feet tall with long brown hair. She advised the school that there would be some changes to the school routine and practices. Most of them were minor until she got onto punishment. She stated that she would always carry out all caning even on the boys. As Mrs Phelps was much shorter and slimmer than Miss Walker this seemed a good bargain to the girls who had been whacked previously. She also explained that some offences she considered serious were becoming too commonplace and therefore would become public caning offences. Furthermore, any offence which attracted a mandatory caning would be done on the day of the offence, no more waiting until the next day. This she explained was to prevent pupils wearing extra layers of clothing as a protection. None of these changes bothered me much because I did not wish a repeat of last years caning and therefore vowed to be on my best behaviour. How wrong I was!!
During the first week of school it was obvious that the new head was going to impose her authority with all teachers handing out detentions and reports like they were on a bonus scheme. In addition Mrs Phelps conducted her first public flogging on a boy who played truant. She had disproved my theory that she would be less painful than Miss Walker because she had made him yelp and jump by the third stroke.
I managed to survive until the end of the term with only 1 detention and felt pleased. At the start of the second term however things went downhill rapidly. I got 2 detentions in one week. The first was for chatting in class and the second was for passing a note to my best friend. All went well until the just after half term. It was a French lesson and we were preparing for the exams. The teacher was Miss Dubois. We were all mucking around and were warned that if the class did not behave it would be a detention to anyone else who misbehaved in the lesson. Just before the end of the lesson some friends made a joke about the teacher. I laughed out loud. Miss Dubois turned and said,”Sandra Smith, stand up.” I stood up as requested. She asked what I had laughed at. I said: “Nothing miss,” which did not please her. She told me to report to her at the end of the lesson. When the lesson finished I went to her desk. She repeated the question and I declined to answer. She then said that I would get a detention if I did not answer immediately. This put me in a predicament. If I told her what it was I would probably get the detention anyway and be snitching on my friends. If I did not, I would get a detention and the automatic caning because it was my third detention in a term. I said that I could not tell her and pleaded to be put on report. But she just turned and said that I was in detention. My heart sank, another caning and still half a year to go. Even worse than that was the fact that any more detentions meant a whacking under the 5 detentions in a year rule.
I met up with my friends after and they were eager to know what had happened. I told them and they thanked me for not telling on them. They also commiserated with me on the caning that was coming.
During the next lesson the school secretary knocked at the door. She spoke to the teacher and then my name was called out. I was told to accompany the secretary to Mrs Phelps for a caning. Some of the boys sniggered at this; Miss Goody Two Shoes was getting caned again.
I was taken to Mrs Phelps’s office and told to wait outside. A few minutes later Mrs Phelps called me in. She read out my record for the year and then said that 3 detentions this term and 4 in total was disgraceful. After a long telling off I was told that I was to receive 6 strokes of the cane. Mrs Phelps completed the punishment book entry and then told me to remove my blazer. She then went across to a cupboard and I saw several crook handled canes hanging up. She removed one of the thicker ones approximately 3 feet in length and nearly as thick as my little finger. She flexed it a few times and then swished it. I gulped at this and my heart went into my mouth.
She ordered me to bend over the back of a chair and hold the arms. I was warned that I would get extra strokes if I stood up before the 6 strokes were completed. She came to my left hand side. I felt the tapping of the cane on my rear and then a loud SWISH followed by the WHACK as it hit my bum. I felt a burning line appear. She repeated the stroke but slightly higher up. The third stroke was lower than the other two and it bit hard making me wriggle. The fourth stroke finally had the desired affect. After the tapping I heard the SWISH and then an enormous ring of fire erupted. I yelped out loud. I saw Mrs Phelps smile. The fifth stroke also made me yelp. Finally the last stroke! It was aimed low and caught the top of thighs where they met my bottom. I yelped out loud and stood up. I was crying by now. Mrs Phelps told me that my caning was concluded and that I could return to my class.
I left the office rubbing my bottom and went to dry my eyes. I did not inspect the damage but could feel 6 raised weals which were like burning tram lines across my rear.
I returned to my class and was told to sit down I delicately sat and wriggled as I realised how painful it was. The boys carried on sniggering at my discomfort. I concluded that Mrs Phelps was indeed better at caning than Miss Walker. However I did not bear any malice. I was to blame for getting 3 detentions. I knew the rules and did not obey them. I was to receive one more caning at school and I will tell you about this in another story.