One morning about a week after I started first grade, Daddy finished up the last of his coffee and ground out his cigarette as Mama scraped the few leftovers onto a plate for Ol’ Jack. “All right kids. Best be getting’ ready for school.” He got up, putting on his felt had as he headed out the back door to do a couple of things before heading to his janitor job at school. Mama reminded me from her dishpan to wash my face and ears. Ignoring them both, I wiped my mouth on the back of my arm, headed for the bedroom, pulling my box of paper dolls from under the bed I shared with Annie. Humming happily, I brought my treasures into the front room, sitting cross-legged as I spread them out for a morning of play.
Daddy saw me on a pass back through the house. “Kat! Get ready for school, now!” He went on about his business, talking to Mama as she poured him another cup of coffee. I played on. At this, he walked back in, addressing me for the third time. He must have thought I’d gone deaf, since I never disobeyed. “Didn’t I tell you to get ready for school?”
Surprised at the tone of his voice, I enlightened him. “I’m not going to school anymore.” I went back to my paper dolls.
I got the shock of my life. He pulled me to my feet, swatting me three times on the bottom. Devastated, I flew to my room to get dressed. In minutes, I was flying out the door before Mama could inspect my neck and ears, but not without my hanky!
That spanking was on my mind all morning. My whole world had changed. Mama swatted my bottom with regularity, something I hoped to avoid, but didn’t find especially unsettling. I didn’t even know it was a possibility for Daddy to spank me. Would he still love me? Had everything changed? Would he ever call me “Kitten” again after I’d been bad enough to make him spank me? It was such a relief to get home for dinner at noon to hear him say, “Hurry and wash up, Kitten! Mama’s got dinner on the table.” Everything thing was fine. . That was the first and last time he ever spanked me.