Thursday, April 17, 2008

My first whupping

Yvonne, at joyunexpected wrote a post about the last time she got a whipping from her dad. I had a cute little linky all ready to go, but the post is gone! I haven't quite figured out why because I thought it was well written and interesting AND I was inspired to share the story of my first and only experience with corporal punishment.
My family all lived on the same road within one mile of each other. I had paternal grandparents down the hill to the east, our house in the middle, and maternal grandparents three houses to the west. I had the type of childhood where we were set out of the house in the morning and told to be home by dinner. Where we were and what we did in between only came into question if criminal acts were witnessed or blood was shed.
My aunt is only eighteen months older than I am, so we grew up more like sisters. We spent a good deal of time exploring the woods around our houses, hanging out in the store where sometimes your bottle of chocolate pop had a dime in the cap! and generally just being kids. Now my father had a very precise version of how children were to be raised. I don't think he did this consciously, but its just the way it turned out. He has never raised his hand or even his voice to either of his children and he didn't expect anyone else to either.
My aunt and I, being around 6 and 8, couldn't find anything to get into one hot summer day. We had run through the sprinkler, had a squirt bottle fight, and watched the Flintstone's. We were at a loss. While aimlessly roaming through the house, we happened upon my grandfather's shaving cream. Two cans! One for each of us. At least we went outside to the front yard before having our shaving cream fight (we seemed to have a lot of fights, real and pretend). To this day, I still don't know what it was about that simple act of childhood that angered my grandfather so. We were scampering around the yard, covered in shaving cream and quite delighted with ourselves when he came home. He came thundering across the yard and snatched us up by the arms. He drug us into the house and put us on the sofa. Then he took off his belt. He hadn't spoken yet.
He whipped my aunt first, then me. With a belt. Two inches wide, black leather, well worn, silver buckle. I will never forget that belt. I can honestly say that I have forgotten the pain. I'm sure it hurt because we sobbed for hours, huddled on the sofa, legs and hineys stinging. But I think perhaps our hearts were in more pain than our asses. We still didn't know what we had done wrong.
My grandmother came home from work and found us like that. She gathered herself up to her full height of 4'8" and she took her 90 lb. self into the kitchen where she proceeded to administer said belt to the back of her husband. She got in two good licks before he took it, all the while laughing at her (which just made her madder) and telling her that a good whupping never hurt no children. Now, my grandfather was a gentle man who never raised a hand to his wife during their entire 40 year marriage. Her fury amused him. He just didn't see what the big deal was. We did something wrong (in his opinion) and he punished us.
Needless to say, my father did see what the big deal was. As kids are wont to do, we got over it and moved on to other activities for the rest of the afternoon. Then it was time to go home. I wandered home for dinner. When I climbed into my chair at the table, my father saw me wince. He asked what was wrong. I told him that Popo had whipped us with his belt because we used up all of his shaving cream. He checked my backside and legs and the welts he saw there put clouds in his eyes that I had never seen before. He very quietly told Mother that he would be back shortly. I wasn't witness to the rest of this story, but it has been told many times.
My father is not a large man. 5'9", 180. My grandfather was a very large man, topping out at 6'4", 280. My father did not hesitate nor waver. Someone had harmed his child and that simply could not be tolerated. To my grandfathers' credit, he didn't try to defend himself. He took his punch like a man and then apologized for whipping me. He apologized to my father, but not to me, or his daughter. But he never physically punished either of us again.
It wasn't the end of the world, getting whipped. I'm sure I would have a different opinion if it had happened frequently. As it was, it happened, and I didn't die from it. But I still don't like the smell of certain shaving creams.


Sizzle said...

I have never been whipped but I was spanked once or twice. I still feel a bit of shame when I recall it.

Ree said...

I remember the days of spankings. Not one in particular, though. And my mom was much, much worse than my dad about giving them.

Candy said...

To their credit, my parents, born in the 1920s at a time where people hit their kids, never raised a hand to me. My older brothers and sisters weren't so lucky. I think my father must have read some parenting books by the time I came along. Either that, or I was perfect and didn't deserve a whupping.

You believe that, don't you?

Jen @ The Cubicle's Backporch said...

We were all spanked when we were younger. My dad hit with his hand, my mom with the belt. I used to hate the phrase "Put your hands on the dresser." Because we knew what was coming after that.

To be fair, I probably DID deserve some of them!