By Joanna Jones

Fourth in a series of stories where painful experiences, coupled with potentially worse sanctions in the future, lead to girls getting the impetus to give up tobacco.

* * *

It was my boyfriend, who I started seeing at the end of my lower sixth year, who introduced me to the ‘joys’ of tobacco. It started when we visited the pub. We were both seventeen but, being tall, tended to have no problem getting away with it. We both also had, like many of our friends a fake student ID as back up, which worked almost every time if we were challenged.

The smoking helped, I thought, to add to the aurora and soon I’d picked up the habit. By the end of the summer I was smoking ten a day, much to my parent’s annoyance who’d forbidden me with dire threats, including stopping my allowance, if I dared smoke even out the window in the house. They did not however forbid me smoking outright, recognizing that it was probably not going to stop me.

September arrived, and with it the start of my final year at school. Smoking was of course forbidden and the consequences of being caught were very simple. You got the cane.

It was 1963 and at the mixed grammar I attended the deputy head, a Mr Wills, was responsible for discipline. While other teachers could slipper a boy’s trousers, or girl’s skirt, the type of caning you got was determined very much by your sex.

Boys would be whacked over their backside. From the stories they told it was usually bare bottom, although a first timer apparently had a good chance of keeping his underpants on. For girls, however, he whacked your hands, and by all accounts it was highly painful.

Girl’s canings were quite rare, and while maybe three quarters of the boys in my form class had had at least one visit to his office, only four girls (I at least knew of) had suffered that fate, and only one of them had had a second experience. I tended to avoid trouble, and in my total school career had amassed two slipperings, both from the same teacher, who seemed to ensure she ‘got’ everyone in her class at least once in the year.

The chances for a cigarette during the day were now very limited, but there were a number of relatively quiet spots one could use during the intervals or lunch break if one was prepared to take a small risk.

As a result John and I would tend to slip off to one of them at some point during the day. It was nearly the end of September, a week or so after my eighteenth birthday as it happened, that we were caught. A teacher, he taught woodwork (boys only subject) and I never knew his name, saw us heading to an odd corner of the grounds near the end of lunch and found us both lighting up. Prefect and teacher patrols were not very common, but did happen from time to time. We had been unlucky.

We were escorted to Mr Wills’ office, of course.

I remember standing there nervously taking in the room, and then listening to his long lecture of the evils of tobacco, reminding us of the rules; no smoking on school grounds or in uniform and finally that sixth formers are supposed to set an example.

I was sick with nerves as he came to the end and announced the inevitable. We were both going to be caned.

I was ordered outside. Waiting next to the door, I could hear enough of the muffled voice of Mr Wills to know that John had his trousers and pants round his ankles as the first crack of the cane sounded through the door.

Five more cracks followed slowly with little sound from John, except on the last when I heard a distinct “oh… ooh” as the effect of the last impact sank in. Both the Head and his office were situated at either end of an open plan school office where three secretaries worked. One of them glanced up and looked sympathetically at me as I tried to control my rising fear at what was now very close to happening, as I involuntarily wrung my palms together in anticipation.

After a few minutes John came out looking in quite a degree of pain, although he was not crying or anything like that.

He was told to wait as I was escorted in. I noticed the turned chair that John must have bent over as Mr Wills returned one cane to his cupboard, and brought out a shorter one.

Flexing it he said as it was my first time it would ‘only’ be two strokes to the same hand. I did not feel any relief at that as I stood, trying not to shake, in the middle of his office.

“Take off your blazer, girl!” He ordered. I was surprised at the sudden coldness of the command. Doing as I was told, I placed it on the back of ‘John’s’ chair.

“Non-writing hand out!”

I was shaking as I slowly stuck it in front of me. I remember thinking please let the fire alarm go off, anything to stop this from happening, but of course nothing ever does.

Suddenly he gently but firmly grabbed my wrist and pushed the sleeve of my sweater to my elbow. He then undid my blouse cuff and folded it back twice. He then unclipped my watch and placed it in one of my blazer pockets. Finally he roughly moved my hand into the position he clearly wanted.

How much of that was actually necessary I don’t know but it certainly had the effect of unnerving me. Tears were forming already as he touched the cane on my palm and ordered me to: “Hold very still!”

A high pitched whistle and “Thwip!”

Excruciating pain blossomed across my left hand. I screamed and the tear gates opened as I clamped my hand to my midriff.

He gave me a minute before coldly ordering me to put my hand out again.

I managed to comply and closed my eyes tight as the second and final stroke cut my palm. It was perceptibly more painful than the first.

As I stood sobbing in his office, he completely my entry in the punishment book and then escorted me out.

The bell for the first post-lunch lesson had gone at the beginning of John’s caning so we had no chance to clean ourselves up as a secretary was tasked to take us to our classes. John was lucky as he stumbled into the sixth form common room. I meanwhile arrived, tears still falling, and left hand still clamped under my arm, into History.

The teacher was sympathetic and I was left to my own thoughts for the lesson.

Fear of another visit to Mr Wills’ office led me to mostly avoid smoking on school premises for a while, although I still managed the occasional one by being very careful. By December most of these were with a clique of girls as John and I broke up in November time.

However, it was not smoking at school that I was caught for just before Christmas, but being seen smoking in uniform.

The first I knew about it was at school morning assembly, held directly after registration.

It was at the end, and my mind was thoroughly switched off from the couple of announcements the Head was giving, when suddenly I heard my name and the order to ‘stand up’. I was totally nonplussed as the command was repeated: “Would Brenda Gordon please stand up?”

Josie next to me gave me a helpful nudge and I slowly got to my feet, face blushing as the attention of the school settled on me.

The head looked at me and then started. “Yesterday, Miss Gordon was spotted smoking in school uniform as she walked down Yew Road. Would this be the case, Miss Gordon?”

My stomach had sunk to my ankles the moment the word smoking had been uttered. I stood there frozen mouth dry, unable to answer the question.

The Head called angrily. “Miss Gordon?!”

There was no point to deny it. “Yes Sir,” I mumbled nervously.

That was not good enough for the Head. “Speak up, girl! Is it the case that, in clear violation of school rules, you were smoking as you walked home from school last night?”

I wished the floor of the hall would open up and swallow me. However, taking a deep breath I managed to reply in a loud voice: “Yes, Sir,” and then added as an afterthought. “I am very sorry sir!”

He looked at me and then said: “I want you all to remember that at this school we will not tolerate smoking by pupils either here or in uniform elsewhere, bringing the good name of this institution into disrepute in the local community. As for you, Miss Gordon, I am sure you will be very sorry shortly. You will report to Mr Wills directly after assembly. Dismissed.”

The noise level rose as everyone filed out. Josie gave my hand a brief squeeze, and a couple of friends gave brief words of sympathy and encouragement, before I was left alone in a sea of people to consider my fate.

All too soon I was in the secretaries’ area waiting outside the Deputy’s office.

Mr Wills looked hard at me as he arrived and ordered me in.

He did not lecture me for long, and mostly it was an admonishment to give up the ‘vile’ habit, and that he hoped this caning and the threat of more if required would give me the necessary incentive.

It was to be the full four strokes this time, and I soon found myself blazer off, with both sleeves up to my elbows.

I am sure the strokes were more painful that second time, as he took his time swishing the cane down three times, criss-crossing my left palm, before landing a truly vicious final swipe on my right.

I took it no better than the first caning, being in floods of tears from the first thwack. I suppose I at least had the courage to keep my hands in position but that was about it.

A final warning that if I ever appeared in his office again I could expect at least the same or worse and I was dismissed to a secretary.

I was on a study period so was taken to the sixth form common room, sat in a chair and told to get on with my work. I was warned not to dare leaving to clean myself up before morning interval if I did not want a return to Mr Wills’ office.

As soon as the secretary had left, of course, I had to put up with the unwelcome attention of the others, who inspected the angry red marks on my palms, fairly sympathetically at least.

Eventually they got the hint and left me alone. I was still mortified at having now become one of the very small minority of girls to have been caned more than once. That coupled with the pain in my palms meant that despite desperately wanting to keep a brave face in front of my friends, the tears would not stop flowing as I tried to read an English literature text.

My New Year resolution to give up lasted three whole days. It was then I realised that I was addicted to this habit. It was a sobering thought that I could not find the willpower after less than nine months since my first ever cigarette with John back in April.

Having a nicotine fix without getting caught between a quick cigarette in the garden before leaving home and another as I returned was pretty difficult and by and large I abstained. I had no desire to experience a third visit to the Deputy’s office.

However in February a friend discovered what she thought was a cast iron safe place to have a surreptitious cigarette.

The technician for the science labs had gone on leave due to long term illness, and as a result the store room, which also served as his office, was essentially unmanned. While there was a risk of being caught at the intervals, nobody ever was there at the beginning of lunch break, so by going for the less popular late sitting it would be possible to have a cigarette essentially undetected.

Amazingly, as the store was off a classroom, no-one had ever thought to lock it. Further the small window at the back faced onto empty fields at the back of the grounds meaning that one could smoke out the window and not leave any tell tale smells.

All too soon it became a regular haunt and from once a week in February, by April I was using it daily. Perhaps the stress of the now all too close A-level exams was not helping my abstinence, but I should have realised I was taking far too many chances!

It was Wednesday 29th April 1964 that I was finally caught. I can remember the rest of that day all too clearly.

It was the Head of Chemistry, Mr Cameron, who found me alone just ten minutes into the lunch break. He came in looking for something and I was caught red handed. As soon as he saw me he looked angry, but when he saw the cigarette he blew up. To this day I have never seen some one quite as angry as that. He literally went white as he took in the sight.

He was spluttering and shouting phrases like: ‘What did I think I was doing?’, ‘How dare you!’ before dragging me to the solvent section and showing me the labels with “flammable”, or “highly flammable” on them. He went on about how I could have set the school on fire and or killed myself or others by my stupidity. Never having been that good or interested in science I was shocked at the intensity of his reaction and the danger he clearly quite genuinely felt I had put myself and everyone in the school in.

He then started to drag me out to find Mr Wills.

I tried to beg him to deal with me himself and give me the slipper. He just turned and looked at me.

“You still don’t get it do you. If a staff member was caught smoking in here the chances are they would be sacked! It is that dangerous! You should not be worrying about the cane, but whether you’re going to be able to stay here at all! Now move before you make it worse for yourself.”

The concept I could be expelled had not even crossed my mind. That was something that only happened to the most incorrigible pupils. I was a ‘good’ girl, so I thought, albeit one with a bad habit.

I was already quietly crying as he marched me along the corridor. Mr Wills was not in and I was left facing the wall as he went to find him.

Mr Cameron’s still angry voice describing my stupidity preceded him as he returned with Mr Wills.

I was ignored as they carried on into his office to continue their debate.

Eventually they came out again, the Head of Chemistry to presumably get some lunch, but Mr Wills walked across the open plan office and, knocking, went in to see the Headmaster.

It was at that point I realised that there really was a very serious chance that I was going to be expelled only a few weeks before the start of the A-level exams. My life looked to be going up in the cigarette smoke I was so in love with. I was shivering, but could not even cry, I was so upset and nervous at the prospect of what was coming.

I do not know how long I stood outside Mr Wills’ office, but I reckon it must have been about almost half an hour before he came from the Head’s office and beckoned me in.

I stared at the floor, shaking with trepidation as he considered me for an age before starting.

“I suspect you have been lectured to by Mr Cameron long enough to know how seriously we have to take this.” He said flatly.

I just nodded, and then as he did not reply immediately, I whispered: “Please don’t expel me. It is only three weeks till my exams,” I begged.

“Mr Cameron is of the view that is exactly what should happen to you. And don’t think for a minute that is not what you deserve!”

I waited on tenderhooks as he let me stew for another minute or so.

“I have spoken to the Head and if you were a boy I would have you bare bottomed over a chair for the ten strokes that is the maximum the Local Authority permit.”

He paused. “Can you think of any reason the school should not do that to you?”

I looked at him incredulously. I was eighteen. There was absolutely no way he could be serious about whacking my bare bottom, could there be?

Eventually I started shaking my head. “You c… can’t,” I stammered. “It is not right for a man to do that to a schoolgirl.”

He gave a rather odd grimace, or smile, at that and said: “I agree with you on that. I have never caned a girl on her backside, let alone an unclothed one, and I am not going to start now. I have spoken to the Head and you have two choices. We will suspend you for the rest of the term, meaning you can attend for your exams only. The alternative is that I will find a suitable female teacher, who will cane you in the exact same manner as a boy in this predicament.”

Two unthinkable options. I felt truly sick.

In the pause as I considered Mr Wills said: “Two further things; first, if it helps you, your parents have been contacted and prefer you to be caned. However, they acknowledge that it is your choice.”

That did not help at all. I was rather hoping that they would not find out about my stupidity.

Mr Wills meanwhile continued. “Second, whichever option you choose, if you are caught smoking again then you will be formally expelled with all the implications that has for your examinations and conditional university offers. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” I replied quietly. It was maybe odd to say thank you, but at least I was not being expelled on that day.

I reverted to my thoughts. Eventually I came to the conclusion I really had little option. “I will take the caning sir.” I said in the same barely audible voice.

He looked at me almost sympathetically for a moment. “Brenda, I think you are making the right choice.” He said, then continued: “However, I should warn you this will be a very hard lesson, and I will be asking one of the secretaries to assist you in staying in position.”

I wanted to object to that, but he forestalled me and reverted to a much colder tone. “I am not offering you a choice on that Miss Gordon.” He said, before going to the door.

As he got there he turned to me and said. “It may take me a little while to find a suitable member of staff so I think you can stand in the secretaries’ office with your nose to the corner and arms crossed behind your back. An opportunity for you to consider things.”

I followed him out and took up my position as he left to presumably go to the staff room.

I cannot describe what I felt. To my knowledge no girl had been caned on her skirt, let alone bare bottom, ever. I also had never heard of more than eight strokes being awarded also. It seemed I, in my last months of formal education, I was rewriting school records of all the wrong sort.

I did, as I waited, determine that I was never smoking again, well at least till my exams were all over. I was not going though this just to make it pointless by then getting expelled.

However, what dominated my thoughts was who was he going to fetch? I hoped it would not be our games mistress who had a notoriously strong arm with the slipper. However she was still preferable to Mrs Oxe. She was the Music teacher who had given me my two slipperings in second form. During lessons she would regularly regale us with comments on how easy we had it (especially the girls) and how a number of us could do with a lot more than the maximum four strokes of the slipper over our tight school skirt that she could dole out. Despite being in her fifties her reputation as the hardest slipperer, and that included the male staff, was well deserved.

My heart therefore sank as I heard her (to me) unwelcome voice as she entered the outer office. Mr Wills took her straight into his office, asking Mrs Green, the most nature of the three secretaries, to also join him. I cannot describe how awful I felt as I waited for what I knew now could only be a short time longer.

Mr Wills called me in. Dropping my hands I crept into the office, which now felt more like an execution chamber. Mrs Green, who was known as a sympathetic character, gave me an encouraging sort of smile.

In contrast Mrs Oxe had a smile that chilled me. The sort of smile that said this is the kind of punishment girls should be getting regularly, and that she was only too happy to assist in providing. She was already flexing a cane, far thicker and longer than the one used on my hands, in clear anticipation.

The chair I remember being in the middle for John’s punishment so many months ago, was back in position; the next visitor to stare at its red leather cushion was to be me.

The bell went for the end of lunch break as Mr Wills said: “Right I shall leave you ladies to it. Alice,” he continued to Mrs Oxe. “As I said Miss Gordon here is very lucky not to be expelled, I am sure I can trust you to emphasise the seriousness of the situation.”

“Of course, Mr Wills,” she replied.

As if she needed any encouragement, I thought. My only consolation was his final reminder that as I was getting a maximum ten strokes, she could not award any extras.

With that, he left. A chill settled on me as I waited for Mrs Oxe to start.

“Right, girl,” she said coldly. “Blazer off, then your skirt and knickers.”

Slipping off my blazer was the easy part. Mrs Green took it and placed it on the desk. I wondered why I could not just lift my skirt but I was certainly not fool enough to argue with her as I undid the buckles on my sandals and kicked them off before unzipping the tight skirt that normally came to just above the knee. Wiggling my hips I slid it down and off.

There were no underwear rules for sixth formers and through my nerves I saw both ladies appraising my rather brief yellow underwear, easily visible as the hem of my blouse was very short, as they waited for me to remove that final garment.

It took all my resolve, and numerous reminders to myself, that I needed the extra teacher revision in the next few weeks, before my knickers were off and lying with my skirt and blazer on Mr Wills’ desk.

I now had my hands clasped in front of me as I waited for the next instruction.

Another chilling smile from Mrs Oxe.

“You know what to do,” she said, flicking the cane towards the waiting chair.

I was now in palpitations. Various boys had told stories to the girls about how awful a ‘real’ caning was as opposed to ‘just’ a couple of strokes on the hands. As I moved across to the chair and draped myself over it I knew it was time for me to find out the truth of the matter.

As I gripped the lower part of the front chair legs with my hands Mrs Green knelt and placed her hands around my body just below my armpits.

As she leaned into me I realised I was not going anywhere until I had taken my medicine.

“Ready?” Called my chastiser. Whether it was to me or the secretary holding me I don’t know, but we both answered in the affirmative.

Not that I wanted to be ready, I thought, as the tell-tale taps started. I fully expected that Mrs Oxe was going to take her time to ‘enjoy’ perhaps a solitary opportunity to give a schoolgirl a proper whacking and I was not to be disappointed. I had begun to wonder when if ever she was going to start as she tapped, then paused only to be succeeded by more taps. Suddenly a real swish and a Crack!

A brief pause then the pain shot through me. I had determined to try to take this bravely, and gripped harder as I cried out briefly. Perhaps as I’d had a long time to consider the situation I did not immediately burst into tears this time.

After another set of taps the second blow arrived and the pain increased as I yelped out loud.

The third arrived and I let out a wail was my bottom was branded again. Each stroke was preceded by an audible hum as the stick arced down onto my bared buttocks.

She was still taking her time. The fourth stroke was low and the most painful yet, and I could not resist letting out a scream.

On the fifth, only half way through, I burst into tears. At that point all I was able to do was try to keep a grip and not rely on Mrs Green to hold me in position.

I sobbed and screamed my way through the agonies of six and seven as Mrs Oxe slowly and methodically pulverised my rear. It now felt as if it had been branded from top to bottom.

On the eighth I could not hold it any more; my hands left the chair legs and I tried to surge upwards to beg for mercy.

I felt Mrs Green tighten her grip and say: “Hold on, not long to go now.”

As far as my pleas of “Please” and “No more” went, Mrs Oxe’s reaction was to tell me to be quiet and take my medicine. She then rewarded me with the ninth blistering strike which landed agonisingly somewhere on the lowest part of my hindquarters.

I was sobbing uncontrollably, but remember being aware of Mrs Green telling me to hold on and that there was only one to go. It was enough for me to grip the chair again as Mrs Oxe lined up her the last blow.

With one final almighty crack across the middle of my backside, it was over. As Mrs Green released me I shot up, hands moving to my poor rear.

Vaguely, with tears still streaming down my face I was aware of Mrs Oxe watching with satisfaction at my dance of agony. Any thoughts of modesty were lost.

She did not give me long before brusquely ordering me to get dressed.

I was still too absorbed in pain to register the command, but two sharp slaps to my thighs did register and I took my knickers from Mrs Green and slowly eased them up. Bending to put my feet in the holes was bad and easing them over my swollen bottom not much better. The school skirt, being a tight fit was worse. It took an age as I tried to wriggle and ease the fabric over my swollen bottom. Eventually Mrs Oxe lost patience and slapping my hands away roughly yanked it up and zipped it into place. As soon as she fastened the waist button I felt two rapid sharp hand slaps to my rear with an admonishment to pull myself together and stop wasting time. Needless to say it did nothing to stop the sobs.

Mrs Oxe completed the punishment book and called in Mr Wills.

After he had thanked her and Mrs Green I found myself, still crying, alone with him in his office again.

“Learned a valuable lesson Brenda?” He asked more sympathetically.

I nodded miserably as I replied: “Yes, sir,” amongst the sobs that were still racking me.

“I doubted you would be in any fit state to study so your mother will be here shortly to pick you up. You can wait in the corner there until she comes.”

I stood again nose to the corner and arms crossed behind my back for about a quarter of an hour before my mother arrived.

I had to listen to her thanks and apologies for my behaviour before I was escorted out of the office. My newly recovered composure was lost as mum gave my rear an almightily slap as I was propelled out, with further blows as she angrily marched me to the car.

Unsurprisingly I was sent straight to my room as soon as we got home. As I looked in the mirror that afternoon all I saw was a mess of bruised lines that would remain with me until after my exams started.

My parents were better than I feared. While supporting the school, they did not give me an additional home spanking. However, I was warned if I ever smoked or brought smoking materials into the house ever again I would seriously regret it. My punishment was that I was grounded till the date of my last exam and my allowance stopped for two months.

The next morning somehow most of my friends knew I’d been caned, but not how. I was desperately careful as I sat at registration trying not to give the game away about where I’d got it.

However, it was a waste of effort. I found myself not just standing up in assembly but ‘invited’ on to the stage. Mrs Oxe stood next to me as the Head detailed the events of the previous day, emphasising the dangers I’d placed myself and others in.

The waterworks had long since started and I wanted to disappear as he told them, to audible gasps around the hall, that I had received the cane to the ‘bare seat’ from Mrs Oxe, and warned the girls that he would not hesitate to authorise such a punishment again if any were foolish enough to deserve it.

“Ow!” I screeched as Mrs Oxe gave my rear a couple of vicious swats with her hand as he concluded. There was no doubt that I still had a very tender backside!

The rest of that week was purgatory between trying not to fidget when seated, fending off the inevitable requests for a “blow-by-blow” account and dealing with the odd classmate who seemed to find it amusing to watch my reaction to a “tap” on the rear.

For my last weeks at school, despite the desire, I did not dare to even look at a cigarette, and by the time I could safely consider smoking again, at University months later, any urge or cravings to do so had long since gone.

The End