At fourteen, I averaged a whipping or a paddling about once every two weeks, and while that sounds really frequent (because it is) they were not regular reddenings of my bottom, but rather, they would come in clusters because I would have a tendancy of compounding misbehavior, many times earning swats at school and also lashes at home.
In eighth grade, our report cards would come out every six weeks--and in the middle of each six week term, our grades would be reviewed by the teachers and students with unacceptable grades would be given a deficiency slip that would need to be signed by a parent and returned to school. This story takes place during mid April of 1969 when deficiency Friday came along.
I couldn't believe it! I had gotten two slips--one in English where Mr. Oatman claimed that I didn't do my homework, and where I disrupted class and one in Earth Science where Mr. Little declared that I did not even try to learn. Both teachers wrote that I would fail that six week period if I didn't get to work. And it was a FRIDAY! Why did they have to give this to me on FRIDAY???? Fridays are supposed to be times when kids don't have to worry again 'til Monday. If I showed these to my parents now, they would make my whole weekend miserable--it just wasn't FAIR! I would get around that by just not showing the slips to Mom and Dad--and I didn't.
Monday rolled around--and I knew that if I showed the slips to my parents Monday morning--they would demand to know why I had not shown them on Friday afternoon--so I went to school without the signed slips. Just tell the teachers I forgot them--what could they do.
Second period was English class and two of the six kids who had gotten slips had not brought them back. Mr. Oatman took the slips up, then....
"Jonathan and Brad--Come up to the front of the room!" Brad and I got up from our desks and walked to the front of the room as Mr. Oatman opened his desk drawer. Brad got to the front first, and I noticed his face go red as he saw what Mr. Oatman had in his hand--and then I saw it.
The paddle was made of plywood and had holes spaced around it--it was about four inches wide and fifteen inches long--such a mean looking paddle for a teacher who we had thought was a non-paddler! Boy, we were about to learn something new!
He took Brad's arm and turned him around so that he was facing the rest of the class. "Bradley, I want you to take off your jacket...you might as well do the same Jonathan." Both of us slowly removed our school blazers and set them on the desk. "OK boys, now, empty your back pockets--and each of you hand me your wallets." We did as we were told again--I don't know about Brad, but my butt was beginning to twitch while twenty two other eighth graders watched with delight in their eyes. Mr. Oatman laid my wallet on his desk, and then began to gently push Brad's shoulders so he was bending. "Bradley, I want you to catch hold of your ankles and get your back horizontal." Brad was in position--and Mr. Oatman pulled his shirttail out of his pants--then laid Brad's wallet on his back. "Now Bradley--you are to stay in position, because if your wallet falls off of your back--that will mean one extra swat." Brad just nodded.
At this point, Mr. Oatman took his position and raised the paddle--then bringing it down swiftly, it made contact with the seat of Brad's grey pants with a loud "WHACK!" Brad successfully fought to maintain the position but not his composure as he yelped in pain and tears ran down onto the floor. Then Mr. Oatman was in position again and the second crack of wood against flannel buffered boy hide was even louder than the first--and now Brad was openly crying--and I was getting real nervous.
"Alright Bradley, you may straighten up and arrange your clothing and return to your seat. Just make sure that you bring that deficiency with you tomorrow." He then looked to where I was standing, "Jonathan, I believe it is now your turn--Come over here." Mr. Oatman took my wallet off of his desk as I faced my classmates and assumed the position--tightly grasping my ankles. I felt the shirttail coming out of the back of my pants and being laid with my wallet on my back. "Jonathan--Same rules apply--Don't let the wallet fall if you want to get this over with."
"Yes, Sir." I clenched my teeth tightly as he stepped back and positioned himself. Then I heard the holes in the paddle whistle through the air and the first "WHACK!"--I also maintained position as my predecesor had and I also lost composure, "OOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW! That HURT!" Boy did it hurt, I could feel ground zero--my bottom burn with the lick, but also waves of pain ran down my legs and up to my shoulders--again I made a promise to myself and God that I was going to learn to behave.