A girl has cause to look back at her schooldays
By Julie Baker
I was born in March 1956, in Northampton General Hospital. My parents named me Sarah and during my early years I developed into a very confident and sociable young girl. I was well aware that I was blessed with good looks which included long straw coloured hair, an attractive face and a long willowy body. My parents were both pharmacists and I was academically gifted with a slant towards the sciences.
I was happy at my day school in Northampton but when I was thirteen they decided to send me away to an all girls boarding school, St Joan’s, in Leicestershire. I was desperate to go as I loved most sports and saw this as an opportunity to make new friends. I was not disappointed. I loved my new school life and relished the feeling of independence that came from living away from home.
However I should at this stage tell you a bit about those teenage years and how my sexual identity started to develop as this will become relevant later in this account. In those days, there was virtually no sex education and the internet hadn’t been invented, so there were few places to go for information on relationships. We were very much expected to be heterosexual and any alternative life styles were either not discussed or were actively discouraged.
Looking back, I think I was equally happy to have relationships with boys or girls, but clearly there were many more opportunities for me to experiment with other girls. However, as I got older, I would also see boys during the long holidays. This could have left me confused but, to be honest, I was perfectly comfortable going either way. I could find total sexual satisfaction with boys or girls which, I suppose, if you want to attach a label, makes me bisexual. I now have a husband, who I love, and three grown up children. Everyone I know, including my close family, naturally assume that I am a normal heterosexual woman, but even now I know that I would be perfectly capable of a same sex fling if the opportunity presented itself.
My school years are now well behind me. It was only when my copy of the annual school magazine dropped through my letter box last week that memories of my school days came flooding back and I decided to write this account, partly because I think others might be interested, but also to try to make some sense in my own head of certain events that took place over forty years ago.
As time has gone by, there are fewer and fewer references in the magazine to people who I knew and so, inevitably, the obituary section starts to hold more and more interest. In this particular edition of the magazine I read that Miss Jane Scrivens had died aged 77. She was head of PE whilst I was at St Joan’s and she was also my House Mistress.
Miss Scrivens started at St Joan’s straight from university and was appointed to the role of House Mistress just before she was 30. We worshipped her because she had very striking looks, but also possessed a lovely warm personality. She inspired us to do well in all aspects of school life, but we also knew that she could be very strict with us when required. Back in the 1970s she had the full range of disciplinary options at her disposal. Corporal punishment was an option in all the boarding houses. The House Mistresses were the only staff authorised to administer corporal punishment, which consisted of a slippering or, on very rare occasions, the cane. There were seven boarding houses and in my time at the school Miss Scrivens was the only House Mistress to use the slipper or the cane.
I got on particularly well with Miss Scrivens and, in my opinion, I was far from the worst behaved pupil in her house. However, I and my friends noticed that there was no other girl in the house who was slippered as often as me. Two or three times a month I was called to Miss Scrivens’ office in the evening and we would discuss what was happening in the school. She would quiz me about my school work and events on the sports field. Inevitably not everything would be perfect and I got to know what was going to happen next.
“Sarah,” she would say. “I’m not too happy with how you are conducting yourself in school at the moment. I’m going to give you the slipper. Please stand up, take off your skirt, face the wall and touch your toes.”
I would get into position and she would then gently rearrange my underwear so that the material was tightly stretched across my bottom. I would hear the scrape of her desk drawer opening and soon I would feel her white plimsoll tapping on my buttocks. Four and sometimes six sharp whacks with that shoe would follow. The stinging built but the punishment would stop just as the pain was starting to become too uncomfortable.
To be honest, it was never that bad. I can’t ever remember being in tears after a slippering and Miss Scrivens would always finish the encounter with a comforting arm around my shoulder. I might have been breathing a bit more deeply than normal, and Miss Scrivens always suggested that I gave my bottom a little rub to ease the pain.
I noticed that Miss Scrivens would always make a point of checking the girls in my dormitory during our evening showers on days when I had been slippered. The routine in our boarding house was for all girls to shower before bedtime and those who had been slippered that day then had to suffer the embarrassment of displaying their red bottoms, not only to their fellow pupils but also to any members of staff who were on duty. Miss Scrivens always seemed to be on hand to see my red bottoms!
None of this raised any questions at the time. I wasn’t perfect and in those days getting a smacked bottom from those in authority was quite normal and even felt deserved. If my bottom got to receive more slipperings than other girls, well, that was just the way it was. Also, because I liked Miss Scrivens, I actually began to crave the times we spent alone in her office, even if it did mean having to bend over at the end of the meeting to get my bottom slippered.
My views on Miss Scrivens’ motives did change a little in my final year at St Joan’s. In my first A Level year I was appointed by Miss Scrivens to be a House Prefect. I assumed this would mark the end of getting the slipper but in reality I was still treated to several encounters with Miss Scrivens’ plimsoll during the course of that year. Although I continued to enjoy our one-to-one chats, I was beginning to feel that I was developing into a young adult and getting my bottom slippered on a semi regular basis didn’t seem to fit with this image. I took the chance to raise this issue when, at the end of the summer term, Miss Scrivens asked me to be House Captain in my last year.
I thanked her for the offer and acknowledged that undertaking this role would be a huge honour. I looked her straight in the eye.
“Can this also mark the end of me being slippered?” I asked.
You could have heard a pin drop. For the first time she looked a little flustered.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I didn’t realise that you disliked it so much.”
This seemed like a slightly odd thing to say. Was I supposed to be enjoying it a bit?
“No problem, Sarah,” she went on. “I’ll not slipper you any more. However, I must warn you that if you let me down badly at any time next year when you are House Captain I will not hesitate to use the cane on you. Do you understand?”
“Yes miss,” I replied, knowing that my face had coloured up at the prospect of being caned. However, I left the room fully confident that my days of taking corporal punishment from Miss Scrivens were now firmly behind me.
I think you have maybe guessed already that I was badly mistaken.
The first two terms went very smoothly. I had lots of nice chats with Miss Scrivens about the running of the house and I never suspected that there was any prospect of her breaking her word about the slipperings. I was 18 for most of that final school year and felt very much the young adult. I was attracting advances from fellow pupils and lads from the local Young Farmers club during the holidays. I was sexually active, enjoying it, and feeling really quite grown up.
Then, two weeks before the end of term, I was caught naked one afternoon with another girl in the woods at the bottom of the playing fields by a member of staff. We were only cuddling and I begged her not to report us. All to no avail.
The other girl was in a different house and she received five detentions and a letter home. I pretty much knew what was heading my way. I was summonsed to Miss Scrivens’ office at 2.00pm the following day. I was expecting a very judgmental lecture from Miss Scrivens but, more or less, she simply said that I had been reckless and that I should be more careful in future. No suggestion that being naked in the woods was forbidden or discouraged.
“I’m going to give you six strokes of the cane, Sarah, to make sure you remember my advice,” she concluded. “I want you to take off your shoes and socks before removing your skirt and knickers. I want you to then bend over the end of my desk with your legs together and the tail of your blouse lifted well clear of your bottom. You will grip the sides of the desk and you will not move until I tell you that you can. Please do not rub your bottom until I give you permission. Is that clear?”
“Yes Miss,” I replied.
There was no mention of a letter home, which was a huge relief, and I suddenly felt full of nervous energy at the prospect of being semi-naked with Miss Scrivens.
I knew back then that I had a lovely physique with long slender legs and a tight, firm bottom. I took a size 8 dress in those days, so I wasn’t carrying any excess weight, but I also knew that my bottom had nice curves and was much admired by my various partners. With this level of self confidence, exposing myself in front of Miss Scrivens was not a problem. The prospect of the cane crashing into my neat little bottom was a bit more of a worry though!
Miss Scrivens must have been reading my mind.
“This is a punishment that is designed to inflict pain, Sarah, but I won’t use excessive force and I will try to space the strokes out so that they don’t overlap. Your bottom is quite small, though, so I can’t give you any promises.”
“Can I have a look at the cane you are going to use on me?” I asked.
Without replying, Miss Scrivens walked over to the tall cupboard by the door, which was mainly used for storing coats, and produced a long, thin cane. She handed it to me. It didn’t seem to be particularly heavy but it had less bend in it than I expected, given that it was remarkably thin. This is really going to sting, I thought.
There was an expectant pause at this point and I took it as my signal to get myself ready. I handed the cane back to Miss Scrivens and bent down to remove my socks and shoes. I put my shoes under the chair by the desk and placed my socks on the seat. I unzipped my skirt and let it fall to the floor. I stepped out of it and neatly folded it before placing it by my socks. I took a deep breath and then took my panties off, placing then on top of my skirt. I walked over to the desk and lowered my upper body onto the hard surface. I could feel my breasts pressing into the desk and I pulled my legs together as instructed. I then stretched my arms behind me to raise the tail of my blouse before gripping onto the desk edges. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I was ready.
“OK, Sarah, you are about to receive six strokes of the cane. Brace yourself and I want you to count each one. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Miss,” I replied.
Next I could feel the cool hard cane resting on my soft skin. When I could no longer feel this, I knew that the first stroke was coming. A short whooshing noise as the cane travelled through the air preceded it landing right in the centre of my unprotected bottom. There was a sudden explosion of pain that I wasn’t fully prepared for. This was quite different to getting Miss Scrivens’ pimsoll.
“One, Miss,” I said in as strong a voice as I could manage.
Then the same tapping routine. Quite a long wait and then the second stroke landed. Lower than the first one, but equally painful.
The third one was quite a bit higher, landing near the top of the crease in my bottom where I had less flesh to absorb the impact. This one really hurt and I let out a little involuntary squeal.
“Half way, Sarah. Do you want to rub your bottom? It does help with the pain,” she added helpfully.
“No thanks, Miss,” I replied, but I could feel her soft hands running over my naked skin. It felt lovely and I was pleased that even at a moment like this she was trying to bring me comfort.
Number four felt like it was the worse one so far, but maybe the caning was delivering a cumulative effect by this stage. I could feel tears starting to well up in my eyes.
The fifth one was very low down, almost at the point where my bottom became leg. This one landed on untouched territory and was reasonably bearable. I did notice at this stage, though, that my breathing was becoming very heavy. I could also sense my fingernails digging into the wood on the side of the desk in an attempt to hold it all together.
The sixth stroke was back in the centre of my bottom and was, by a margin, comfortably the hardest stroke. I had been doing reasonably well until this point but my resolve totally deserted me. My poor bottom was on fire after that last stroke. I let out a cry that could have been heard several rooms away and I collapsed onto the desk surface in floods of tears. My whole body was heaving with emotion and it was several minutes before I could gather my wits to say: “Six, Miss.”
Miss Scrivens stood for several minutes looking at my prone body draped over her desk. Without asking, she rubbed a little bit of hand cream into my bottom. I was grateful and the pain began to recede.
“You can get up now, Sarah,” she said eventually. “Please get dressed and go back to your room.”
And that was it really. When I got back to my room I could very clearly see the six cane marks and there was a bit of bruising that disappeared after about ten days. I left school a couple of weeks later and Miss Scrivens gave me a lovely send off in our final house assembly, telling the rest of the house that they should all aspire to be like me. No mention of the recent caning of course!
Reading her obituary last week has set me thinking though. She spent all her working life at St Joan’s and was never married. I certainly had a bit of a crush on her but did she maybe have some sort of sexual feelings towards me? I was a very pretty teenager who she clearly liked. But she chose to repeatedly slipper me and I suspect that she was aching for an opportunity to cane my bare bottom in that final year. I nearly didn’t give her that chance but ironically it was my voracious sexual appetite that eventually gave her the opportunity. A chance she took eagerly and maybe she enhanced her pleasure by the act of rubbing the cream into my cane marks at the end.
I know now, though, that any chance of getting to the truth has gone. We will never know the true motives behind the way Miss Scrivens’ dealt with me all those years ago.
© Julie Baker 2018