Today is my sister Leslie’s birthday. Happy birthday, Leslie!
She is the middle child, and I’m the oldest, by sixteen and a half months. I have no recollection of my life without her.
Here’s one of those family stories, the telling of which will make more sense in a couple weeks, I hope.
The worst spanking I ever received directly involved her. I tell this tale not to embarrass her – after all, it WAS a half century ago – but to indicate how much that incident has imprinted on my whole life.
When I was four or five years old, Leslie marked up the piano with some crayons. My father went to Leslie and asked her who marked the piano, and she said that Roger did. So my father got the strap that hung in the kitchen – this brown leather thing about a foot long that barbers used to sharpen their razors – and started wailing on me. One of the things he was looking for from me was an apology, yet even in the midst of my pain, I was unable to do so. “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!” I sobbed.
Eventually, and these are pretty much in the words of my father, recounting the incident years later, he figured that I was either really stupid or I was actually innocent. Finally, he requestioned Leslie, who finally confessed, and he started wailing on her. Continue reading “The Spanking Policy”