(Part One of a new series – The Swishing Sixties)
Fun in the snow lead to a breach of the headmistress’s rules
by Dick Templemeads
The 1960s, the “Swinging Sixties”, were the decade when it is generally believed the social fabric of Britain changed for ever. The Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Kinks to name but three, brought us a new style of music, fashions changed dramatically and the permissive society was born.
Yet despite this new liberal attitude, corporal punishment remained a likely form of retribution to which parents or teachers would resort. Perhaps its use had declined in comparison to earlier decades; certainly the “Roaring Twenties” were also considered the “Spanking Twenties”, but throughout the land a boy or girl bending over or holding out his or her hand for a painful application of ruler, belt or cane was still a daily event in many schools.
As somebody who attended school throughout the decade, and experienced spanking, rulering, slippering and caning on quite a few occasions, I can testify to this and have produced a chronicle of stories set in that decade, the “Swishing Sixties”.
Mid December 1961 just 15 days to go to Christmas, and a really heavy snowfall brought an early seasonal feeling to the fore. I was just turned 18 in my final year at school and a prefect. A child at heart I loved Christmas, and was enjoying these unexpected weather conditions.
But snow brings treacherous conditions and several minor collisions outside the school, coupled with several complaints that passers-by had been pelted with snowballs thrown by girls from our school caused the introduction of some temporary school rules. On arriving at the school one was to enter immediately, no waiting outside the school gates, no waiting in the school grounds and under no circumstances were snowballs to be thrown.
We abided by the rule for a day or so but boredom plus the Christmas spirit got the better of me and five other six formers, four of whom, were like me, prefects and we left the school grounds one Friday lunchtime to stage a three a side snowball fight; the two teams lined up on either side of the road.
The game was just in full swing when a smart Jaguar drove towards us. Four of us were going to cease fire but the sixth girl, Susanna Jones the non-prefect whose father was the local Labour MP and whose rebellious nature she had inherited, urged the rest of us to pelt the “posh car”. Stupidly we did, only to see it stop ten yards down the road outside the school gates and deposit none other than Mrs Winters, the Headmistress; that Jaguar belonged to her husband, a successful business man. Well we were well and truly in the mire.
Despite the slippery conditions, Mrs Winters made very short work of reaching our sextet and demanding that we make our way to her study with immediate effect. For myself and three others it was the first time we had been there when in trouble, Susanna had, not surprisingly, made several visits, being caned on each occasion and Emma had made one visit and returned with a sore bottom. But we were sixth formers and five of us prefects. ‘Surely,’ I thought. ‘She won’t cane us? Or perhaps she will?’
Mrs Winters was incandescent with rage. “She was,” she said. “Actually relieved that it was her husband’s car and not a member of the public.”
But she went on. We had disobeyed two explicit instructions. Firstly by being outside and not in school, secondly by throwing snow balls despite being told no to. We had acted like silly first years not six formers all aged 18. Moreover all but one of us was a prefect. But 18 years old or not we were to be punished severely, and just to drive the message home to the rest of the school our punishments would be meted out in front of the school at a special assembly that she was convening for 3.30 when all six of us were expected to be standing on the stage when the rest of the pupils assembled.
With that we were sent to our classes, though I could not concentrate on the lesson and I’m sure could none of the others, except perhaps Susanna who despite being a rebel was incredibly clever.
Finally the clock ticked round to 3.30 and I, along with my five colleagues, trudged reluctantly into the hall, where we were instructed to stand, hands on head on stage, facing the pupils who were filing in.
Once all were assembled, Mrs Winters announced: “The six girls on stage, all of whom are 18, all of whom are sixth formers, and all of whom, bar one, are prefects, this lunchtime decided to flagrantly break not one but two of my emergency rules. Firstly, expressly against orders they left the school and once left engaged in a snowball fight. A car, fortunately belonging to me and my husband and not a member of the public who would justifiably have grounds to complain, was pelted with snowballs.
“These senior girls behaved like silly children, and so will be punished like silly children. For leaving the grounds they will each receive three strokes of the tawse on each hand.”
I heard a hasp as the announcement was made; Mrs Winters was never known to use a tawse.
Then, horror upon horror, she continued. “They will, after receiving the tawse, form a new line and face you hands on heads, then when all six have been tawsed, the second stage of the punishment will commence as they return one by one for six strokes of the cane each on their bare bottoms!”
Two of the girls, Angela and Sarah, started crying at that point and I was trembling. Mrs Winters then added: “Just let this be a warning to the rest of you, for any other girl who transgresses these rules will also face a similar punishment in front of the whole school.”
* * *
We were to be punished in the order in which we had lined up, so Emma was to be first, followed by Mary, the recalcitrant Susanna was third, Angela so small and angelic looking was fourth, Sarah tall and lean and with tears still in her eyes was fifth, and I was last. God I’d be treated to the anguished yells and groans of my friends before it was my turn. I pledged to myself I’d be stoic, something I’d not been on the two occasions when my mother had applied the hard back of her rosewood hairbrush to my bottom.
Emma was summoned forward; she dragged herself towards the Head who after a moment commanded her to hold out a hand. There were a few seconds of silence then the sound of the tawse landing on Emma’s palm cracked round the hall like a gunshot. Emma drew in her breath; the second followed after about ten seconds. This time Emma groaned. The third brought a stifled yell. There was a brief interlude before she was ordered to hold out her other hand. Try as she did, Emma could not avoid screeching after the fifth, and the sixth brought a cacophony of sobs. After about a minute she formed a new line looking out at the school, placing her hands on her head which must have been agony.
Mary was stronger than Emma but she groaned on her fourth stroke, screeched at the fifth and was also crying as the ultimate stroke of punishment (part one) landed.
Susanna, as expected, managed to take her punishment without more than a groan, but Angela screeched from the very first, was crying after three and was sobbing at the finale. Meanwhile my stomach was churning and my legs shaking.
Sarah, who’d been crying since the punishment was announced, dragged herself toward Mrs Winters. As I expected, she put up no hint of stoicism. Twice she had to be told to hold out the first hand; she seemed to take an age to hold out the other after she’d received her first three strokes, and was throughout sobbing and screeching at each whack. It took several minutes for her to join the line. Now it was my turn.
I held my head high and walked towards Mrs Winters. Then, without further command, I offered out my left hand. I sensed her movement and shut my eyes. I didn’t want to see the wretched strap descend. When it landed, I gasped but did no more as the pain took effect. I realised it was worse than I’d expected or hoped. The second intensified the heat but I remained quiet, the third fell, it really hurt but other than a groan I was still living up to my own expectation though my teeth were sore where I was clenching them so tight.
I unclenched my teeth for a second as I lowered my left palm and stretched out my right. Once more I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, at least now I knew how it would feel not that that was any consolation.
The three strokes fell at the same time gap and intensity as the first three but I just about managed to remain stoic though I did yell a little at the last. Successfully fighting back the tears I joined the line looking out at the sea of faces, all of whom seemed awed by the spectacle. My hands were throbbing like mad and felt twice their normal size, but I had no option other than to clasp them to my head.
At this point a small desk was lifted onto the stage and Miss Jones, the young and very fit games mistress, appeared carrying a thin yellow coloured crook-handled cane. It appeared the Head had used all her energy on the first part of the punishment and Miss Jones was going to wield the cane.
Once more Emma stepped forward, and the other five of us all involuntarily glanced to the side to see what was happening. The desk had been placed in the middle of the stage, Miss Jones was holding the cane and the Head stood alongside her, and announced that Miss Jones would undertake the seconds half of our punishments.
Emma was ordered to lean across the desk, which she did. The head lifted he gymslip above her waist and tucked it into the belt to reveal Emma’s shapely bottom clad in cerise pink panties.
Mrs Winters was not amused. “More disobedience, girl. Regulation knickers, as you well know, are navy blue. Report to me Monday lunchtime where you will receive a further three strokes of the cane for uniform failings.”
Poor Emma burst into tears at the point, even before Miss Jones had lifted her panties from her bottom and lowered them to her knees. I also detected some agitation from two of the others, Susanne whispering an oath and Sarah’s sobbing increasing in volume. Evidently they too were not wearing regulation knicks.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Since I’d been doing my Saturday job I’d been treating myself to a new set of adult undies most weeks and now quite often wore fancy pants to school, but the cold spell had led me to revert to the thicker warmer navy blues, at least for school.
Emma suppressed her cries until the fourth stroke, when she let out a scream, and her reaction to the final two strokes was even louder. She struggled to stand up and, with swollen hands, ease her knickers back into place. Poor girl, Emma was my best friend and we were both suffering together. Furthermore, my mind was suddenly registering the fact that both my own mother and Emma’s mother, both of whom were old friends, were also likely to roast our bums when they heard about this.
Mary was second. She went into position and, thankfully for her, was wearing navy blue pants which were soon down around her knees. She had coped quite well with the tawse but the cane seemed to affect her more and she was crying from the second stroke and yelled at the last two.
Susanna was not wearing navy blue, her panties were lime green and, like Emma, she received the summons for a further caning on the Monday. Despite this, she took all six strokes silently and soon she was back in line staring defiantly out at the school.
Angela had not been brave for the first punishment and was even worse for the second. She sobbed as she lay over the desk, the volume of sobs increasing as she was divested of her knickers. She screamed out from stroke one and as the final stroke flashed down her cries almost brought the roof down.
Sarah’s reaction to the strapping had been worse than Angela’s and she twice had to be called to the desk. She took what seemed like a minute before she bent over it, and as her gymslip was turned back it revealed she was wearing white knicks with blue polka dots, so she too would be back for a further dose on Monday.
Knowing I was next was an awful contemplation and I tried without success to blot out Sarah’s screams and sobs. But eventually she was back in line, and I was about to learn of the effects that the cane has on one’s bottom.
As before, I put up a pretence of bravery, even lifting up my own gymslip as I placed myself over the desk. I would also have liked the dignity of slipping my own knickers down, but no chance for that. The Head’s fingers were at the elastic waistband and I felt them being drawn down my legs to the knees.
I braced myself once more, eyes closed, teeth gritted and the cane’s swish announcing its descent. For a second I felt nothing then a line of fire burst in my bottom, it hurt more than the tawse, but I somehow stifled a groan. Stroke two was harder but I remained silent. Three fell and I made an audible groan, four brought a louder groan. Through sheer willpower I made no noise at the fifth, and breathed some relief as I knew there was just one more to come. The stroke was driven into the base of my bottom and the tip whipped to strike my thigh. At that point I made an almighty yell, but to my surprise and pride I kept the tears at bay.
Pulling my knickers back up was a painful business. My fingers were swollen like sausages and my bum was burning, but my movements were hampered so that I could not be as gentle as I intended. But finally they were back up and I was back in the line hands on head, facing the school in disgrace. My bottom was throbbing and stinging like it was on fire and my hands likewise; I wasn’t sure which hurt more.
Then there was the indignity of standing stock still as the Head announced: “Now you can see for yourselves six silly disobedient girls who are now feeling very sorry for themselves. Let that be a warning to you. Disobedience will not be tolerated, and should you too choose to disobey then likewise you will be up on stage just like these six.”
We then had to remain in place until the entire school had filed out of the school, many of the girls stopping for a second to view our red and sorry faces.
Finally the hall was empty and we were able to return to the prefect’s room and prepare for home. Trying to buckle up a satchel was painful with such swollen fingers.
Susanna joined up with us and suggested that on the way home we stopped at the coffee bar to have a Coke and cheer ourselves up. I could see the sense and I wanted to look a little less dishevelled when I got home. I’d spoken to Emma and she, like me, agreed that her mother was also likely to punish her, and of course she still had another caning to come. We both decided we’d have to tell our parents outright as this incident was never going to be kept secret, so many girls witnessing our demise.
We must have looked a strange sextet walking along the road. All of us, as I was aware, had bright red faces, several had tearstains on their cheeks, each of us was limping, and our hands, which I tried to soothe with snow, were swollen.
At the coffee bar, we stood, unable to face sitting, but at the same time holding the bottles for as little as possible. In a bid to cheer us, Susanna dropped a coin into the juke box which can’t have been easy. The voice of Helen Shapiro made the airways: “Since you went away I have loved you more each day. Walking back to happiness, oompah o yeah-yeah.” It was a good idea on Susana’s part and despite our discomfort we all joined in the lively chorus.
However, despite the sing song, when I arrived home half an hour later I was still dishevelled, with throbbing swollen hands and a bottom in which the sting had given way to a throbbing.
I tried to be bold the way I had when I’d presented myself for my whacking earlier, immediately telling mummy of the crime and the punishment meted out. My parents had always had the rule that a caning at school meant a further punishment at home. My Father had dealt with my brother, now 23 and married, caning his bare bottom when he misbehaved at home or if he’d been caned at school.
Mother dealt with both me and Julia, my sister, who was a year older. Mummy’s method, which we were subject to as soon as we became 13, was to put us over her knee and spank us with the back of her rosewood hairbrush. I’d only felt it twice and that was for misbehaviour at home but Julia had quite a few spankings, being quite naughty at home, and also having had the cane from Mrs Winters on three separate occasions.
“You realise this means a spanking, don’t you Veronica? Daddy and I have always been quite clear on that; a caning at school equals another whacking at home, the same as it was for your brother and sister and for me and your father when we were at school.”
“Yes mummy,” I replied. “But can’t we delay it? I’m in agony as it is.”
Mummy inspected my hands, then pulled my knicks down to look at my bottom. “Okay, you are at work all day tomorrow so Sunday after Church I don’t want you wriggling about on the pew if I do it first thing in the morning!”
* * *
The confession at Church seemed more relevant than normal that Sunday, but finally the service was over and we made our way back home, me very reluctantly.
Once home, I hung my coat and dragged myself to my bedroom. My hands were still sore and a quick glance in the dressing room window showed that my bottom was still vividly etched with the tramlines of the cane.
Finally mother entered, hairbrush in hand. She sat on the bed and pulled me over her lap, lifted my tweed skirt above my waist and thankfully decided to leave my sky blue panties in place.
My two previous whackings had consisted of just six spanks to the middle of my bottom, but this time mother went to town; six to my left cheek, six to my right and for the finale she pulled my panties to mid thigh and administered nine slaps across the middle of a bottom that was still sore.
This time I made no attempt to be brave, yelling and crying from the second spank onwards. This caused my mother to remark: “I hope you showed more restraint on Friday?”
I told her I had and that that was just a one-time punishment spectacular as it may have been. My mother remarked that although she’d been caned on six occasions, she’d only ever had six stokes once and never twelve, so she was surprised at my fortitude. She also added that I’d always been so well behaved she’d thought that her hairbrush had become redundant.
Well I was never caned again, although I did pay two more visits over Mother’s lap before I went to university, but neither hurt anywhere near as much.
Emma, for her part, received just a hand spanking from her sympathetic mother who took into account the fact that there was another caning coming her way.
That was 52 years ago, but even to this day if I hear ‘Walking Back To Happiness’ I feel my bottom tingle.
© Dick Templemeads 2013