Parents from my youth would all be in trouble for child abuse by today standards. Not that my parents were abusive but there was no way I was going to end up spoiled because they had spared the rod.. as the Bible says.
On top of my parents refrigerator were two items… a fly swatter and a paint stirrer. The paint stirrer was one of the older ones… you remember… a little bit wider and a little bit thicker than the ones you get today… the perfect size for straightening me out.. or at least trying to anyway…. It was funny, obviously when dealing with flies my mom used the swatter… when dealing with me… what ever she grabbed would work just fine…
It was funny… I could always tell by the tone of her voice or the look on her face. Actually I usually knew well before that.. mainly because of the mischief I was sometimes subject to get in. But we all knew when we were in the biggest trouble of all… it was when we had to go get “the switch”.
You know what I’m talking about…. those long wispy branches from the bush out in the yard. There was always an expectation of what you would come back with. It was not advisable to come back in the house with one of those wimpy little ones… oh no, if you did that, then you got marched right back out there again. And this time mom got to pick it! And trust me, if you never experienced a mom picked switch… you never really got a whippin’!…
I kinda chuckle when I think about it. It wasn’t so much the actual spankin’ that hurt as much as the anticipation of it. I can remember starting to cry and my mom hadn’t even gotten over to the refrigerator yet… feeling around on the top wondering where the fly swatter and “paddle” as she called it had gotten. She would turn around and burn holes in me with those mom eyes and say; “If you don’t hush up, when I get over there I’m going to give you something to cry about for sure!!”
This type of corporal punishment didn’t last very long in my life. It didn’t take my parents long to realize that spanking me didn’t really seem to be having an effect on my behavior. What would work though…. was restriction. I’d rather have had a beating every day than to have been put on restriction! That was the worst. I don’t know how they seemed to know it but my friends always knew when I was on restriction so they would always come over and ask if I could do something cool like long bike rides or football games or swimming…. geez I hated that.
As I look back, I know that it was true… that my parents did what they did out of love for me… I just wish on those days when the swimming chances came my way, they didn’t love me quite so much.