My mother was hard on my brother, Bill. Totally unconcerned about his tender psyche and self-esteem, she spanked him when he was a tender child. She was a tiny, “not tall” woman with a squeaky voice to match, sounding a lot like Minnie Mouse. It was ridiculous seeing her flap away at one of us with a plastic fly swat, but she gave it her best shot from time to time, anyway. Not wanting to be part of such a ridiculous show and avoid further embarrassment was the most likely inducement to better behavior.
Bill maintains he got more than his share of spankings, but most of us feel she neglected him. One day when he was about six, he confronted her, “Mama, you wupped me five times today!” Stricken by this accusation, she answered him, “I know son. I should have wupped you more, but I can’t give you all my time. I have four other children who need wupping.”
The last time she brutally beat him, he was eighteen years old, over six feet four inches tall, and had ragged her one day till she wanted to murder him. After a final smart remark as he went out the back door, he bent over and waggled his behind at her. Overcome with fury, she grabbed up a bed slat conveniently standing beside the back door and threatened him.
“Bend over and grab your knees, boy!” He thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. He bent over, grabbed his knees just as she demanded, and waggled his behind at her again for good measure, just in case she hadn’t seen enough the first time. She drew back and smacked him across the rear as hard as she could manage. POW! The percussion verberated across the woods like a rifle shot!
Bill fell to the ground, proclaiming, “You broke my back! You broke my back!
Terrified, she imagined herself going to jail for child abuse, even though he was past eighteen and towered more than a foot above her, leaving two little girls without the comfort of a mother. Mustering bravado, she threatened. “Get up from there or I’ll get you again, boy!”
He hopped up and strode around the corner of the house, laughing to my dad who’d enjoyed the whole episode. “That smarts! I didn’t think she could hit that hard!”
Happy Birthday Bill. Watch out for Mother!