From an interview conducted by Megan Lowry

Some years ago I had a series of conversations with an older gentleman who had graduated from Jonesville High School in western North Carolina in 1961. As best I am able, I shall attempt to reconstruct a May 1960 group paddling from the chat logs I only recently discovered were still in existence.

On the day Gary Francis Powers was shot down by the Soviets, after 6th Period, four male and three female students were caught smoking on campus at Jonesville High School. My informant, Walt, was among them as was his girlfriend Gerry and her close friend Laura. The name of the third young lady is unknown to me as are the names of the other three boys.

The seven were caught In Flagrante Delicto by Jonesville Principal Guy Swain who, incidentally, passed only this May in a nursing facility in Greenville. Principal Swain enjoyed a reputation as a stern but fair disciplinarian but seems to have been very well liked in the community and was popular with both faculty and students. In 1960 Mr Swain was 34 years of age.

Walt and his friends were marched to his office and all entered together. Mr Swain called in a middle aged math teacher named Mary Speer to act as witness. Once Mrs. Speer arrived, the principal informed the group that the male students would each receive EIGHT swats and the females SIX.

Walt stated to me that when Laura heard this she began “whining,” to use his term, and stated: “I’ve never been paddled before. I can’t take it!”

In reply, Mr Swain is alleged to have given Laura a hard look and to have said: “You don’t hear the others complaining, do you?”

When it came Gerry’s turn, she quickly leaned over the desk and took her swats. She was wearing a skirt and Walt told me she took it “pretty well,” just giving an “Ohhh!” with each slap. Gerry was a little teary eyed after the 4th but didn’t break down. Also, remember everyone was in the same room so they all saw the others spanked, quite unlike common practice today when students are called individually and paddled out of sight (but not hearing) of the others.

Once all seven had taken their swats they were dismissed. As noted earlier, this all took place after 6th Period. The school day now being ended, Walt and Gerry walked over to a park that was across from Jonesville HS. He said when they got there Gerry “started kind of jiggling her bottom up and down.”  Walt asked Gerry what she was doing, and can you guess what she said?

“I am trying to wiggle the sting off!”


There is one slight follow up to the story. The following morning Gerry and Walt’s friend Laura came walking across the parking lot to the main entrance. A number of girls were standing around and nastily took up a chant of “Laura got a SPANKING! Laura got a SPANKING!”

Walt said she turned red faced and rolled her eyes but didn’t say a word. Laura just hurried on inside. Also, Gerry had gotten the paddle in 6th grade one time.  Apparently the one in 11th was her last.

I wish I had more details to offer, but this is all I know of the incident.