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Date Posted: 14:05:29 08/02/19 Fri
When I was seven years old and in second grade, I was disrespectful to a school bus driver early in the school year. Anticipating my stop, I got out of my seat before the school bus stopped. The bus driver, I’ll call her Mrs Jones, told me to sit down until the bus stopped, but I ignored her. When the bus had finally come to a stop, Mrs Jones scolded me for what I had done because it was dangerous. I was embarrassed by her scolding me and when she was done, I uttered the words that I would soon regret. I said, “I don’t have to listen to you. You’re just a school bus driver.” Mrs Jones stood up, put her hands on her hips, and said, “Oh, I see. I didn’t know you were so important. I guess I’ll just tell your parents and let them decide what to do.”
After that exchange, I got off the bus and went home, but it wasn’t long after that that my mother got a call from Mrs Jones and after my mother had angrily confirmed with me what I had said, sent me to my room to await my father’s arrival from work. When my father got home, I was called down to tell him what I had done and he told me to go and brush my teeth, and, then, go up to my room and put my pajamas on and wait for him. I did as I was told and I waited in my room with a churning stomach for my father’s arrival.
Finally, I heard my father coming up the stairs. When he opened my bedroom door, the first thing I noticed was the doubled up belt in his right hand. My lower lip started to quiver and tears sprang up in my eyes, but my father was adamant that I had to be punished for being so disrespectful to an adult. He sat down, pulled me over his knee, pulled my pajama bottoms down and spanked my bare behind until I was kicking and blubbering and promising to be good and to never be disrespectful to Mrs Jones again. When he, at last, let me up, I grabbed my stinging bottom and rubbed and rubbed and cried and cried.
Eventually, he told me to pull my pajama bottoms back up and get to bed if I didn’t want another helping of his belt. My mother came up awhile after that and cuddled and kissed me and told me that she loved me, but that I had gotten exactly what I deserved for my behavior and that tomorrow I would be required to apologize to Mrs Jones. I cried myself to sleep after she left.
In the morning, my father woke me and told me to get ready for school. At breakfast, my father told me that he was going to go to work late that day so that he could supervise my apology to Mrs Jones. He told me, “Young man, you’re going to apologize to your bus driver in front of the whole bus full of children, because you were disrespectful to her in front of all those children. I want Mrs Jones and all those children to know that we don’t tolerate the kind of behavior you displayed yesterday. Do you understand me?” I was mortified, but I surely wasn’t going to argue with my father after the lickin’ he had given me the night before.
When the school bus arrived, all the children got on the bus before me and, then, my father and I got on the bus. My father said to Mrs Jones, “My son has something to say to you.” At first, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth as Mrs Jones waited for my apology. My father cracked me on the seat of my pants and said, “Do I need to take off my belt again?” The apology tumbled out of my mouth, awkward and halting, but I apologized for being disrespectful. My father said, “Tell Mrs Jones what happened to you last night because of what you said to her!” I mumbled, “I got a spanking.” All the children smirked and laughed when I said that. My father smacked my bottom again and said, “ Tell her what kind of a spanking you got!” The blood rushed to my face and I said, “I got my bare behind spanked with my daddy’s belt.” The whole bus was filled with laughter when I admitted that and I wished that I could disappear, but Mrs Jones smoothed my hair and kissed me on the forehead and said, “That’s alright honey, I forgive you.” Then she looked back at all the children laughing and said, “And none of you better tease, Jack about this ‘cause I can call your parents just as easily as I called his!” The bus got very quiet and Mrs Jones smiled at my father and said, “Thank you. It’s nice when parents take care of their responsibilities.” My father nodded and said, “You just let me know if he gives you any more problems.” Of course, I did not give her any more problems! This happened in 1959 and it’s as fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday.
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