This piece is written in response to Irene Waters blog topic, Times Past – Punishment
I’m a Baby Boomer living in an Australian capital city.
Firstly I’d like to say I was lucky, I think in my family no-one got any pleasure from punishment.
The first punishment I can remember came when I refused to eat my dessert, quinces and rice, I was shut in the bathroom and told I couldn’t come out until I was ready to eat it. I don’t remember how that ended but I do know I don’t eat quinces or sweet rice.
It’s interesting to me that I can remember only one individual instance of being smacked by Mum though I know it happened more often and when I heard, “I’ll give you 5 fingermarks on your backside” I certainly knew what that entailed. The instance I do remember was a smack across the face for making my younger sister cry just before Dad was due to get home from work.
I remember “having my backside tanned” by Dad when I slammed my bedroom door in a rage and it broke the ceramic door plaque. I felt I deserved that one but I still feel a sense of injustice over a school punishment. In Grade 3 we used to get stamps in our handwriting workbooks if our writing was very good. I was sitting next to a boy when I saw he’d coloured one of his in so I did the same. When the teacher saw what I’d done she was angry, I protested that I’d copied the boy. She gave me two whacks across the palm with a wooden ruler and told me one was for colouring it in and one for lying.
I think we were kept in line more with words than fear of being physically hurt and Mum was a master of sarcasm. Dad used his own hurt to make us feel bad. I remember once being so excited when I saw Dad bring home my big brother’s Christmas present that I raced off and told him what he was getting. I don’t know how Dad found out but he looked at me and told me to get out of his sight. That really hurt.