School life with twin sisters, and the trouble they get in

By Gillian Howard

My name is Emily Bradley and I have a twin sister, Charlotte, We are both 18 and are leaving school in 2 weeks to go to university if we get the grades we require in our recent A levels. I hope to study Dentistry and Charlotte medicine with a view to go into general surgery.

Up to now our schooling has followed the same line with us always vying for top spot in all academic subjects and whereas I excelled at swimming Charlotte excelled at most other sports where I did not seem to have much hand-eye co-ordination.

That is the point where our similarities ended. We attended a mixed grammar school in an age when corporal punishment was a regular occurrence and few children avoided it. I was the only person in our class to do so, more by good luck than anything else. When we were in the second year I had an appointment for the dentist and missed our PE lesson in the afternoon. Apparently it was a little boisterous so Mr Gaskell lined everybody up and made them bend over and gave all the class 4 with his slipper across the bottom. Now in those days boys only wore white cotton shorts and girls yellow gym knickers, so when we were getting ready for bed later Charlotte showed me her bruised bottom and said it had really hurt.

Punishments occurred daily but somehow I avoided them. Charlotte, however, did not and was punished often. By the time we were nearing the end of our fifth year and had finished our O level exams, things were very relaxed at school and the teachers appeared to allow trivial things to pass without punishment. One Wednesday, two weeks before we broke up from school, I suddenly got severe pains in my stomach and as I thought it was a period starting I went to the matron but collapsed and was rushed to hospital with acute appendicitis.

After the operation I was kept in hospital for 6 days and on the Friday Ron (Charlotte’s boyfriend), Jeff (who kept asking me to go out with him but I was not interested in boys), Joan and Rebecca all came to see me. I had missed seeing them as we always travelled on the bus to school together and were really good friends.

They cheered me up and said that they would see me again the following week after school finished. Charlotte said that everybody had been asking after me, including the teachers, and I said that now we could be identified when together as I now had an appendix scar.

On Monday I woke about 09.30 and got out of bed. As I walked into the kitchen I felt a sharp pain at the base of my back. Mum got me to lie down and examined my scar to see if there was any redness but everything appeared fine. I took some aspirin and was soon ok again and started reading my books. About 3.00pm mum asked if I would be ok till Charlotte arrived home as she had some shopping to do. I said it would be ok so she brought me a glass of pop and went out.

I was dozing when I heard the front door close. I could hear voices and realised it was Charlotte, Joan and Rebecca. They came in and I said it was nice to see them.

“Where’s mum?” Charlotte asked.

I said: “Gone shopping; will be home around five,” I replied and she ran upstairs before returning with a jar of mum’s cold cream.

“What’s up with you?” I asked.

She replied: “Your luck is still in; we were on the bus this morning as usual and two 4th year boys were being boisterous and making a nuisance of themselves. None of us knew them but had seen them around. We got off the bus and headed into school. As we were about to enter the school, Mr Gaskell called us over.

“He said a lady told him that we were causing a nuisance on the bus and, when asked to be quiet, swore at the driver.”

They had all denied it but he took them to the headmaster.

Charlotte continued. “The headmaster listened to our story, then asked for the names of the other boys but we all said we didn’t know them. He then stood up and said: ‘As you cannot prove otherwise I must assume you are all guilty and you will now be caned.’”

I said: “But there have only been two girls in our year caned before, and they were on their 4th visit to the Head.”

Charlotte replied: “I know, and we tried to reason with him but the woman was the wife of one of the new teachers starting next year. She was bringing his qualification documents into school and was really upset by the disruption.

“We were told to bend over and lift our skirts and he gave each of us 4 strokes. They were terrible and now we want to put cream on the marks.”

I watched as they each bent over and one of the others applied the cream and I could see they each had 4 angry lines, purple in colour, across their bottoms. Charlotte had a blister on one where she said the tip of the cane landed.

I lay there thinking that if it had not been for my appendix operation I would also have been caned. I now knew why Charlotte had said my luck was still in. As the holidays started I recovered from my operation and was able to resume my swimming.

At the start of the next term everything was going well and I had been selected to swim for the county and to compete in the national trials. To our amazement we found that, even though we were now in the sixth form, we could still be punished as Charlotte and Rebecca found out when they were both caned for smoking. As they returned to class with tear-stained faces, Charlotte eased herself down next to me and I asked if she was ok.

“Emily, stand up,” Mr Richards shouted. “Do you want your bottom caned as well?”

“No Sir,” I replied.

“No, I don’t suppose you do. Well, you can think about how lucky you have been when you serve a 1 hour detention tomorrow.”

I went bright red as he came and handed me my very first detention slip which would mean my first ever punishment entered on my school record.

After school finished, Charlotte told me they had received 6 of the best each as they had both been caned before. She also told me that I would almost certainly be getting the slipper in detention as very few escaped without getting it, especially sixth formers.

The following morning, as I walked to the dining room, I saw my name on the school punishment board for the first time and noted that last week’s detention list was still up and everyone had had the slipper, while 3 had received the cane across the hands as well.

I asked Charlotte about the cane being used and she told me that if you were punished for a second offence it was 2 with the cane across each hand, and you were almost certainly back in detention the following week.

She also told me that today was the 2nd time she had been caned for smoking and as it was also her 3rd visit to the Headmaster to be caned as well as being caned twice in detention she had been caned by Miss Brightwell. Miss Brightwell was the deputy headmistress and an accomplished Badminton Player. Charlotte had received 6 of the best across her bare bottom, hence why she was in so much pain.

At detention I was one of only two 6th formers, the other being Jeff who, I later discovered, had deliberately got himself into detention to watch me get the slipper for the first time. He was unlucky as I avoided the slipper along with three others. Jeff got the slipper and another detention next week, which would be his third in a row so he would also be caned by the Headmaster.

The next few weeks seemed to go well but Charlotte could not stay out of trouble and she was called out 4 times for the slipper and also served a double detention. I was doing well at swimming and had set 3 new town records at our latest competition and the headmaster made an announcement about my achievement at assembly.

The following day we had our morning lessons and then we had double period PE before lunch. As we got to the changing room I realised I had picked up the wrong sports bag but I had a spare PE kit in my locker and rushed to get it. I got back to the changing room and threw all my clothes off, putting them on the bench. I put my top on, which was a little tight but ok. My yellow shorts fitted but were really tight and dug into my thighs and belly.

As I got into the Gym everybody was just starting to jog round the gym. As we were completing the first lap Rebecca rushed in and apologised. Then Ron came in and joined us and said he had been to see the Headmaster’s secretary with a note that he was going to the doctors that afternoon.

Mr Gaskell left the gym and went into his office. He returned with his slipper and made his way to the centre of our circle.

“Right, stop running. Ron, come to the centre and touch your toes. I will not accept any excuse for lateness. Now don’t move or else!”

He stood behind Ron and took 3 steps back before coming forward and delivering a severe blow to his bottom. Ron gave a yelp and this was repeated 5 more times before he was told to go to the wall bars and to hold onto the bar that would leave his feet off the ground.

“Rebecca, to the centre please and touch your toes and no excuses.”

Mr Gaskell then followed the same procedure and gave her 4 strokes and each one brought a scream of pain. She was then sent to hold onto the wall bar with her feet off the floor.

“Emily, into the centre and touch your toes and not a word of an excuse please.”

I went bright red as I walked forward knowing that I was to receive my very first taste of corporal punishment. As I bent over, my shorts really tightened around my bottom.

After I was told not to move, I heard him take a few steps forward then the bang as the slipper exploded across my bottom. The pain was instantaneous and I let out a scream. Another followed immediately and I almost stood. Then I heard him send me to the wall bars.

As we were hanging from the bars, I was just about holding the tears in as Mr Gaskell divided the class into 2 teams for a game of dodge ball to get everyone warmed up.

Suddenly, Mr Gaskell came up behind me gave me 2 hard slaps across each thigh.

“That is what you get for being late into my lesson.”

When the other two had been slapped, he told us to join the teams and to get on with Gym.

After 10 minutes he told us to get the vault beam and release the ropes. We then had to climb 2 ropes, do a vault and walk along the beam. All the time he was stood with his slipper in his hand.

During these exercises, 4 boys and 2 girls failed on the apparatus and had been called out for 3 with the slipper. Charlotte had been doing well but then she slipped as she climbed the ropes for the third time and was called out for the slipper.

As the lesson was entering the last 40 minutes we were put back into our teams for dodge ball but this time with 2 balls. As one of the balls came towards me I bent over to pick it up when I felt an enormous pain shoot through my bottom as the other ball hit me dead centre. I yelped.

When I turned I saw Jeff doubled up laughing, so I threw the ball at him and hit him in the face. Mr Gaskell saw what happened and looked at Jeff as blood came from his nose. He ran to his office and returned with a damp cloth.

“Put everything away and then run around the Gym till I return. Come, Jeff, let us get the nurse to look at your nose. Emily, go and wait outside the Headmaster’s office with your hands on your head, nose against the wall, till I get there.”

I tried to apologise but was told to do as I had been told.

So, as Mr Gaskell went out one way, I went out the other and went to the Headmaster’s office and had to stand there as I had been told.

Mr Gaskell arrived and went straight into the Headmaster’s office. After about 5 minutes the Headmaster’s secretary came out of her office and said: “Right, Emily, the headmaster is ready for you.”

As I turned around she was holding a pink file. As we entered the office, the Headmaster was sat at his desk and Mr Gaskell was stood at the side. The office was larger than I remembered the last time I had been there when I was congratulated for my swimming. In front of his desk was an upright chair which I had sat on the last time I had been there. The Headmaster was reading the file in front of him.

He looked up at me and said: “Emily, what you just did was unforgivable even though you were provoked. Retaliation is worse than the original offence. When Mr Gaskell told me what had happened and what your response was I was very tempted to send for Miss Brightwell  to punish you the same way as Charlotte was punished last week, namely 6 strokes of the senior cane across your bare bottom. I don’t want you to think that Jeff will escape scot-free as he will be getting 6 with the slipper on your return to the gym.

“As for you, I have just seen that until your detention you had a completely unblemished record and you avoided punishment in detention. However, I have just been informed that your unblemished record went when you received the slipper for being late and had your legs smacked as well. I cannot ignore what you did and I am going to give you 4 strokes of the senior cane across your knickers. You will also serve 2 detentions which means that if you get a third one you will be back before me for 6 of the best. The same will apply if you get another detention this term as that would mean 4 in a term.

“I now want you to bend over the back of that chair.”

As I did so, I saw him go to a cupboard behind his desk and select a cane over 3 feet in length and very thick. He swished it through the air and I was really scared. I could feel the tears in my eyes as I felt the cane across my bottom. Then it moved. I heard a swish-thwack and my bottom was on fire. I took a great intake of breath before letting out an almighty scream at the pain.

Another swish-thwack quickly followed, a little lower, and the pain intensified. Two more followed, leaving me screaming for him to stop before the fifth landed at the base of my bottom, almost certainly below my knickers. I was kept waiting for the last one which seemed to go diagonally across the previous 5.

As I was told to stand up, I was in floods of tears and was told that the secretary would give me my detention slips for next week and the week after. I was escorted back to the gym and had to face the class as they were told that I had received 6 of the best over my knickers and also 2 detentions.

I apologised to Jeff before he was brought out and told to touch his toes to received 6 with the slipper. As we went to get changed, all the girls wanted to see the damage and I could see three large blisters where the tip of the cane had landed, as well as 5 parallel ridges and a diagonal one.

The rest of the day dragged and I was told off several times for fidgeting and was actually called out in maths for the slipper till I said it was because I had been caned and so was let off.

My first detention arrived and I was really worried about getting caned and another detention, but I managed to avoid trouble till just before the end when, as I looked at my watch and saw it was 4.56 and only 4 minutes to go, I heard: “Emily, out to the front and touch your toes and lift your skirt. You do not look at your watch in detention. Perhaps 6 with the slipper will remind you.”

For some reason teachers thought that I had suddenly become a naughty girl and I was to receive the slipper in front of class 4 times in a week.

As my second detention started I was conscious of the fact that several of the boys in my class were also in detention and I wondered if they were there deliberately to try and get me in trouble, but that was unfounded as they had been caught playing football in the corridor.

John, a boy I had always liked and thought of as a friend, sat next to me and as we were given our task he whispered: “Have you got a spare pen?”

I reached inside my bag and gave him one of several I had when I heard: “John and Emily, to the front now. John, trousers down; Emily, skirt up. Both of you, touch your toes.”

We both received 6 with the slipper. My bottom was getting used to it by now.

As I sat down, I screamed in pain and was asked what the matter was. When I stood up, I found 4 drawing pins on my seat and one dropped out of my thigh. Miss Brightwell, who was on duty, asked who the culprit was before I realised they must have fallen out of my bag as I gave John the pen.

I told Miss Brightwell and she said: “Right, Emily, back out here now. I will not have you disturbing detention through carelessness.”

She went to the cupboard and took out a short thin cane.

“Hold out your left hand.”

She placed the cane on my outstretched palm, lifted it above her head and brought it down with so much force I thought my hand had been cut open. Another followed before I had to hold out my other hand and received 2 more.

I was in tears and holding my hand under my armpits as I sat down.

She said: “If you don’t finish your work you will be in detention again next week and I believe that will be the third on the run, so it will also mean a visit to the Headmaster for six of the best.”

I worked as fast as I could and tried to forget the terrible pain I was in. All too soon we were told to stop writing. She collected our work, checked it and started telling others that they could go.

Everybody had left apart from John and myself when she said: “Ok, John, you can also go as you have done enough. Emily, stand up. All I can say is that in my time at this school I have never caned anybody harder than I caned you but you still managed to complete your work. Well done.”

John was waiting for me outside and said: “Well done, can I walk you home, please?”

I accepted his kind offer and as we walked he asked if he could hold my hand which I let him do. Suddenly he just said: “Do you always wear them big green school knickers?”

I just laughed and said: “No, but when I knew I could get the slipper I wanted extra protection.”

We talked a lot on the way home and as we said goodnight he asked if he could take me to the local fair on Saturday, which I agreed to.

John and I became very close and, when we started our A level exams, we revised together as we were taking the same subjects and I found it very helpful.

As we approached our last two weeks at school, John and I were having a kiss and cuddle behind the boiler house when we were found by Mr Gaskell who took us straight to the Headmaster and told him that he didn’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t turned up.

As the Headmaster read our files he said: “Right, this will the third caning for both of you so it will be six of the best on your bare backsides. Emily, wait outside for Miss Brightwell while I deal with John.

As I was waiting outside I could hear the cane striking John’s bare bottom and I wondered how painful it must be. As John came out he was obviously in great pain but mouthed: “Good luck and I love you.”

Miss Brightwell arrived and I was called in while the headmaster went into the secretaries’ office. I was told to take off my skirt and my red briefs and had to touch my toes. The pain from that first stroke took my breath away and the next 5 just intensified the pain.

As I finished putting my knickers and skirt back on, the headmaster returned and told me that, as there was only an hour of that week left, I could go home.

The End

© Gillian Howard 2015