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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :

RETALIATION

by George Lester
George Lester

Shortly after I entered the first grade at Lorena, Texas, I got a spanking. I didn't act up in class or talk back to the teacher. My crime was being late for school. It's reasonable to wonder why I would remember this, considering the fact that it's been over seventy years ago. I guess it is because of the unjustifiable reason for the spanking. Sure, I was late for school, but that wasn't my fault. Actually, it wasn't anyone's fault. It was just an unfortunate circumstance.

It all began as Sam and I were leaving the house. We started early enough to get to school on time, but our mother requested we run an errand for her. I'm not blaming her because she was pretty sick that morning, and she asked us to go to the drugstore for some medicine. By the time we got back with the remedy, we couldn't make it to school on time. Even then, things would have been all right if only she had remembered to send a note to the teacher. I guess she was feeling too bad to think about it. As soon as I walked into the classroom, I knew I was in serious trouble by the look on the teacher's face. Trying to explain the reason for my tardiness fell on deaf ears. I was immediately sent to the principal's office. When I got there, Sam was sitting on the bench waiting to be called in. He didn't wait long. After the door closed, I heard him getting paddled.

My turn came next, and I was scared to death as I entered that room of torture. A very officious looking woman told me to lie across her lap. I tried to be brave, but as she raised the paddle to bring it down the second time, I couldn't help what happened next. I guess it was due to my fright. She suddenly dropped her weapon and jumped to her feet, dumping me to the floor. She screamed and ran out of the room, holding her dripping dress out in front of her. I was sent home to change my clothes. When I got back to school, the teacher said nothing about the incident, and she avoided eye contact with me for the rest of the day. I was late for school once after that, but this time the teacher patiently listened to my explanation. I didn't have to go to the principal's office again.

George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir >

July 15, 2006 column
 
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This page last modified: July 15, 2006