A girl thinks back to a bad day at school

By Dick Templemeads

It was as Bobby Goldsboro wrote, a hot afternoon the last day of June and the sun was a demon.

I had spent half an hour cooling off in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, and now lay on my sun bed. A combination of the heat and the glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc which I had been sipping had a soporific effect and I drifted into a deep and dreamful sleep.

I’d probably been asleep for only a few minutes when I awoke with a sudden start. My bottom felt as if it was on fire. Thinking I’d been stung, I thrust my hands down the back of my bikini briefs, much to the delight of the young man walking past at that point. Then I realized my bottom hadn’t been stung at all, it was just that the dream had been intense and had taken my memory back to a  previous hot afternoon, 30th June 1969, to be precise.

*     *     *

The weather was uncharacteristically hot for England in June, and whilst it had been great for my eighteenth birthday celebrations, it made taking my A levels uncomfortable. Indeed, so warm was it that our Headmistress, a real stickler for wearing the correct uniform, allowed us to dispense with our ties for the exams.

However, once exams were over we had to revert to being properly attired, even though we had just three weeks to go before we left school completely. Our uniform consisted of a dark blue blazer, knee length grey skirt, white blouse, dark blue and grey striped tie always done up right to the neck, and worst of all a straw boater with a grey and blue striped band to match our ties and thick grey knickers.

If caught improperly attired, the Head allowed just one warning and any further indiscretion spelt dire consequences for the offender, who invariably ended up with a very sore bottom. On several occasions when changing for games I’d seen the weals on the behinds of girls who’d transgressed either the dress code or some other school rule.

I did not want to suffer the cane and thus was always careful ensuring  my uniform was spot on, although, like many of the  senior girls, I did occasionally on non-games days wear coloured panties knowing that these were unlikely to be detected. Thus I’d made it throughout my school days without feeling the cane, until that hot afternoon on the last day of June 1969.

At the start of that week I’d removed my boater when walking from the bus stop to the school as a girl from another school had attempted to snatch it. Unfortunately, as I passed through the school gates the Head was standing the other side and lectured me, adding that even though I was a prefect and had only three weeks left of my schooling I was expected to wear the full uniform. Then she added that this was my first and last warning.

For the next three days I made sure I left my boater on, but then on the Thursday I was so hot after tennis that I had a swim in the school pool. Having washed my hair afterwards I didn’t wear my boater. It was well past five and I thought it unlikely I’d encounter the Head.

However, I just missed my bus and had to walk to a stop on another route to catch a different bus. This meant walking past the Head’s house where, unbeknown to me, she was sitting in a winged chair inside her window bay looking into the mirror on the opposite wall, and spotted a bare headed and oblivious me.

*     *     *

I thought no more about the matter until registration the next afternoon when I was told by the secretary to report to the Head’s study at the end of the day. Even then I didn’t realise I’d been spotted, at least not until I entered the Head’s study.

“Grace Dowling,” she addressed me. “Despite my warning about not wearing your boater, you dispensed with it again yesterday evening.”

“I’d been swimming Miss; my hair was wet.” I ventured.

“That’s no excuse, it’s just wanton disobedience. Now I shall have to cane you, which is a pity as until now you’ve avoided it. Remove your blazer and hang it on the back of the visitor’s chair,” she continued. “Then go down to the end of the study and bend over and touch your toes.”

I obeyed and, after I’d bent over, watched through my parted legs as she knelt down beside a low corner cupboard and rummaged through a collection of canes.

She selected a long thin straight bamboo, rose to her feet and then flexed the chosen weapon several times. I was now starting to feel nervous, my stomach doing somersaults. Any second now I would learn what a caning felt like, and having heard accounts from two or three of the other girls, knew that this would be very painful.

She stood behind me and I waited trembling, thinking that she was about to raise the cane and swish it down on my bum, but first she instructed me to raise my skirt above my waist and tuck it into the waist band of my skirt. Remaining bent over I pushed my hands up to raise my skirt and tuck it in, realising that as it was a non-games day I was wearing white panties with pink roses embroidered on them.

“So, Dowling, you choose to wear non-regulations knickers, thinking, I suppose, that nobody would notice as it’s not games day.”

“Sorry miss,” I feebly replied.

“You probably will be girl. Regulation knickers give more protection than those flimsy things you are wearing.”

‘Hypocritical bitch,’ I thought. We’d often noticed her rather fetching pants hanging on the washing line, as her garden backed onto the school field.

She stood alongside me, then the next thing I heard was the swish of the cane. It seemed to take an age to descend, but finally it hit its target. At first I felt nothing, then a line of fire burst in my bottom. There was a longer delay before the swish announced the delivery of stroke two. I gritted my teeth as the cane landed. It was harder than the first time and now the pain was multiplying ten-fold. I closed my eyes and clenched my teeth tighter, again a long delay before the swish announced the third stroke. It hammered down and it was only my tightly gritted teeth which prevented me from yelling.

I was left bent over for quite a few seconds before I was told to rise and put my skirt back in place, and to stand to attention as she lectured me about discipline and the need to dress properly when I took up my Civil Service scholarship in two months time. As she droned on, the pain in my bottom was intensifying all the time and I started to rub my bottom, an action which had no doubt been expected and which was promptly noticed.

“Were you rubbing your bottom?”

I confessed that I had been.

“I told you to stand to attention not rub your bottom. I want you to feel your punishment, and for that you’ve earned yourself an extra stroke, get yourself ready as before.”

Now nearly in tears, I lifted my skirt up, tucked it into the waistband and then bent back over, my bottom now feeling like it was on fire. I’d expected the pain to ease by now, but it was actually hurting more.

Then to make things worse she added: “I think this time we’ll have your knickers down.”

I was horrified but stood and pushed my pretty panties down to my knees. In truth, they’d probably not offered much protection but at least it was better than nothing.

Once more I waited, bent over, teeth gritted, and eyes closed, for that terrible instrument of pain to make contact with my bum and it certainly did make contact, but through sheer will power I managed to remain stoic.

I was then instructed to stand and get dressed. To protect my modesty, I let my skirt fall into place before easing my knicks back up over my burning throbbing bottom, after which I was dismissed.

The caning had left me traumatized and I made a beeline for the loo, where I managed to do what I needed without sitting. I then quickly glanced in the bathroom mirror and noted the four vivid red wheals etched across my bottom, which was still throbbing like mad.

*     *     *

 I couldn’t bring myself to sit on the bus, so stood. An elderly gentleman offered me a seat but I declined and in my still agonised state not as politely as I would normally have done. Realising, I apologised, only for the school secretary who had given me the instruction to report to the study and who in my agitation I hadn’t noticed in the adjacent seat to say to the man: “She’s not being rude, the reason she doesn’t want to sit down is because she’s just been caned.”

I felt myself blush, but the elderly gent just smiled and said: “Well, I had that often enough myself young lady. I understand how you feel.”

*     *     *

I came back out of my daydream from the past. My bottom wasn’t sore; that was many years earlier. I’d just been reminiscing and tonight I’m off to Palma see my favourite singer Bryan Adams, the “The groover from Vancouver”.

Then I varied the lyrics of his best known song:

Got my first school caning,

Got it in the summer time,

It felt as if my bottom was burning,

Was the summer of 69.                                                    

The End

© Dick Templemeads 2013