Hot Cross Father

July 26, 1896
Margaret Spooner

“I thought I asked you to make peace with your mother, this summer.” Father said.

It was not a question but I could tell he expected me to treat it like one.

“Yes, Father.” I said, trying to appease him.

“Then why is it the first thing I hear from your mother is about you being a problem while I was gone?”

“It was a mistake.” I said too quickly.

Our conversation was taking place in his private study. I was stripped to my dressing gown and my lower half was exposed with the rest of the gown laying up on my back. Naturally I was leaning over his desk and holding onto the far edge as tightly as I could. The desk was not going anywhere but with the razor sharp strokes of father’s strap applied to my bottom, if I loosened my grip just a fraction I would likely be dancing around the room grabbing at my bottom. The scene was not pretty but the scene of me dancing around the room would be an embarrassing nightmare, and it certainly would do nothing to shorten the current nightmare.

Father swung six times after my too quick comment. I really should think before I speak, especially when I am in such a precarious position.

“At least we can agree on that!” Father said, while his strap added punctuation.

“I didn’t even know I’d left the book there. I thought I had put it away.” I said between sobs.

“Now you are going to accuse your sister of taking it from your room? Do you think your mother and I are fools? How many times have we had to talk to you about leaving your things around the house? How many times has your mother had to clean up after the messes leave all over the house? How many times?”

This is when a smart girl shuts up. Exhibit A; I am either not smart or not a girl.

“I am sure if I talk to Grandma she would tell me there are plenty of bad habits you had as a boy that you don’t have now.” I said.

What that has to do with my current predicament I do not know, but it sounded good in my head. Father must not have liked it though because his strap’s velocity increased and the pain in my butt tripled. No doubt everyone in the house heard me crying and carrying on like a naughty child. The thought entered my head that I would never again be able to face anyone in my family. Of course the truth was I would be facing them and I would be blushing when I did. Some things never change.

“We are not discussing your behavior from when you were 11, we are talking about your behavior last week which is of little difference from your behavior last year or the year before that or from when you were 11 for that matter. You have made no effort to change. When will you grow up Margaret?”

I almost said never. Then I bit my tongue instead. It probably hurt less.

Father stopped talking and simply concentrated on applying leather to my buttocks. He managed four ‘good’ ones on my thighs too, which nearly sent me through the desk. My fingers went numb from trying to hold on. Finally after those, stingers he stopped.

“I expect you to go and find your mother, apologize for you behavior and then it is straight to bed for you. Understood?”

I wanted to get up off the desk and face him, but I was lacking the strength or the energy or both. I laid quiet for moment as his words sunk in. I lifted my tear stained face from the desk to look at him puzzled for an instant.

“But it is only 3:00 PM.” I said.

“I have a clock, thank you.” Father said.

I closed my eyes, feeling even more embarrassed than I did when he walked in and order me to his study in my dressing gown for punishment. My siblings got a good laugh at my expense as my mother interpreted for me that my father wanted me to undress before entering his study.

“Yes, sir.” I said finally.

“And keep that gown above your backside. You can be an example for your siblings of what happens when they don’t behave and I am gone.”

Fresh tears spilled down my cheeks, but I was fresh of fight. I nodded my head and went to look for mother. Hopefully I won’t have to look long or far.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, you hard on your girls.
Warm hugs,