The guidance counselor for my Elementary School was an interesting woman. She seemed to incarnate various aspects of my rural, American, Germanic, religious upbringing.
She spoke with a somewhat mushed enunciation, and often talked about “four wheelers” and other things associated with the “white trash” culture of Midwestern countryside that mimmicks the south. She had perfect blonde hair and blue eyes, that seemed to improve her rough looking face. Her name before marriage had been “Miller”, changed from Mueller many generations back. She had of course m
arried, and her name when I knew her was Mrs. Nussbaum. She was forty years old, and though I was never sent to be “counseled” by her, I remember her quit well.
When I was a fifth grader, and Bill Clinton was being impeached, I sat in
the various classrooms of my school, and gradually became the man I am today. Once a month Mrs. Nussbaum came our class to give a presentation dubbed “character education.” Each month, a different “moral value” or “virtue” was taught to us with a lecture from her.
For some reason, each lecture tended to involve her support for the classic, All-American tradition of spanking.
Her lecture on “honesty” spun off into how confessing to a lie can be difficult, and often result in being spanked for the original lie, but it is relieving. Her lecture on “respect” spun off into “if you talk back at home, the best thing your parents can do is give you a spanking. The stinging pain is the best way to help you remember.”
The concept of spanking always seemed to fit into these moralistic sermons, which themselves were dubbed a necessary part of our “character education.”
Of course, I thought nothing of it at the time. My parents had spanked me, though they did so pretty infrequently after the second grade. Most of my friends at that age were still feeling the sting of parents belt or paddle. It was considered “normal.” No one
thought anything of it.
I also recall that the sex drive within me, began to stir and awaken at this age. I started to notice girls, and oddly the objects of my affection seemed “out of place” to my peers.
I was attracted to Naomi. Naomi was a poor girl, by comparison. Unlike most of the kids in my class, she lived in an apartment with her mother, not a house. She wore “hand me down” clothes that were cheaply purchased.
Naomi’s household did not have a father, but simply herself and her mother. Naomi’s mother was divorced, and worked in a local food manufacturing plant. Naomi had her unique name, because her father had been a religious fanatic. Her father, before the divorce and loss of custody, had chosen to give her a Hebrew name, in honor of “God’s Chosen People.”
Naomi was young, dark blonde haired, and dark brown eyed. Her father, like the vast majority of those in the area was German. But her mother, the only parent present in her life, was Italian.
I was attracted to Naomi because she seemed different. There was something about her that made her stand out from the other girls. Oddly enough, it was that she was poor, Italian, and raised by a single mother. She would not fit in with the cookie cutter families of the rural American heartland, all with houses they can’t afford, and intact marriages that clearly aren’t meant to be.
From across the classroom I stared at Naomi. The September sun blazed outside on the cornfields, causing my other peers who daydreamed to look out the window. But I did not look out at the “great outdoors” when my mind wandered, I looked across the classroom at Naomi. I imagined myself kissing her. I imagined myself being special to her, and being desired and loved.
I was a child becoming a teen, at eleven years old. Naomi awakened something within me, and it was something I wanted to flourish.
It was in the September heat, that I sat through one of Mrs. Nussbaum’s morality sermons. Mrs. Nussbaum reminisced about the merits of “moral courage” and “doing what is right.” In her usual mushed speech and stereo-typical “white trash” style, Mrs. Nussbaum talked to us about the merits of making the correct ethical decision, even when it was a difficult thing to do.
Mrs. Nussbaum said “Its often very hard for students to come to me when they are having a hard time.”
She went on: “But it’s rights. If you are having trouble come to me. I’m the school counselor for a reason, and I want to help you. A few years ago, there was a boy whose parents had gotten divorced. He felt sad, and upset. But instead of coming to me for help, he stopped doing his homework.”
“He had been a straight A student before, but suddenly he was being lazy and didn’t do any of his work. So, finally he was sent to see me. We figured out what the problem was. I helped he and his mom and dad to work things out. He’s come to terms with his parents being apart.”
“He didn’t have to stop doing homework. What he needed was ‘moral courage.’ He needed to have the courage to come to me and say he had a problem. I know it is hard to admit things aren’t right. But was it the right thing to do to stop doing his homework?”
“No.” We all said in robotic rhythm to her from our desks before the blackboard.
Then the guidance couns
elor decided to make her point more clear, by giving a more “close to home” example.
“Kind of like Naomi.” She said. “Naomi’s teachers sent her to me, because they were worried about her. They saw her getting into fights, and losing all her friends. Now, I’ve talked with her and her mother. We’ve helped work things out. Yeah, they were tough at first, but now Naomi and her mom are getting along a lot better, aren’t you?”
The guidance counselors question was met with a nod and smile from Naomi. She did not seem to be embarrassed to have this information presented to 23 of her peers. Naomi just smiled, and nodded affirming the truth of what Mrs. Nussbaum said in defense of having the ‘moral courage’ to approach her when psychological trauma arouse.
I wondered what “new arrangements” Mrs. Nussbaum had established. Later that year, I found out.
I finally got the courage to speak to Naomi after school one day. The classroom was clearing, and only she and I remained, both of us cleaning out our desks at a much slower rate than our classmates. We were alone in the classroom.
“I’m gonna miss the bus.” I said, worriedly, as I scrambled to fit my math book into my backpack. “Aren’t you?”
Naomi, who was also rushing looked up.
“No.” She said. “I walk to school. I live in the apartments just across the street.”
“Oh.” I said. “Why are you rushing? You’re not going to miss the bus.”
“No.” She said, zipping her bag up fully. “But I can’t miss my mom.”
“Oh, she wants you home on time.” I said.
“Yeah, if I don’t get back there right after school my butt will burn.”
“Really?” I said. “Just for being late?”
“Yeah.” Said Naomi. “But its okay, its not fun, but it keeps my mom and I cool.”
On some level, I knew what she meant. Spanking had created a level of bonding between Naomi and her mom.
“I only get it with her hand for little things like that.” Naomi informed me. “If I really screw up, like I mouth off or something, I get the paddle.”
“Is it like a ping-pong paddle?” I asked.
“Yeah.” She said. “Those rubber bumps hurt on my bare butt.”
“Wow.” I said, as images flew into my mind.
“Do you get it often?” I asked.
“No.” She said, as if only bragging. “I only got the paddle five times. But its way worse than Mom’s hand. I have to go to bed afterwards no matter what time of day. I sleep turned over. My butt is red for days.”
“Wow.” I said.
“My mom didn’t used to spank me, especially after dad left. Things weren’t good. I’m the kind of girl who needs it. I wish they had it in school, so next time I do something I can just go see Mr. Young and get it over with. I won’t have to walk home and be scared.”
“When my dad was little he got it at home again if he spanked at school.” I shared, as if I had knowledge.
“Yeah.” She said. “I’ve heard that too. Do you get spanked?”
I was a bit nervous at this question, so I lied on the spot. I recalled the numerous times my Mom had screamed “I ought to spank you.” I didn’t want to look spoiled.
“Oh yeah. My dad uses his belt.” I lied.
In fact, I’d only ever gotten the hand on my bare behind, and it had been over two years. But I feared looking like I was “spoiled” and “had it too easy.”
“Those hurt.” Naomi said. “That’s why my mom didn’t spank me. Her dad used a belt. That’s why she didn’t like the idea when Mrs. Nussbaum…”
“Mrs. Nussbaum?” I asked, taken aback.
“I really have to get home.” She said. I could see her recalling the sting of previous corporal punishment sessions as she dashed out of the door.
It seemed to all make sense.
It seems that the “new arrangement” that Mrs. Nussbaum had worked out between Naomi and her mother after the departure of her father involved a lot of spankings. Naomi’s mom had been convinced by a guidance counselor, that in light of a divorce, the girl who had been emotionally acting out in response, need to be regularly paddled and spanked. She had convinced the mother to get over revulsion at her father’s belt whippings.
Mrs. Nussbaum had convinced Naomi’s mom to break out the paddle. I suspect that Mrs. Nussbaum, with her blonde hair, blue eyes, and rough exterior would not be ashamed of it. She would probably hail it as a personal accomplishment to have reintroduced corporal punishment into Naomi’s life.
It’s a wonder she didn’t brag about it in great detail before our class during one of her lengthy “character education” speeches.
Though this defies all I the child psychology and parenting books I read later on, many of them in extreme detail, it seems to have worked. Naomi seemed charming and happy.
Of course it could be a mask, or a cover, for how she really felt. But every face in those hallways was a mask. None of us were ourselves.
Especially after adolescence we covered our anger, fear, sadness, or deep shames with letterman jackets, punk rock T-Shirts, make-up, Cross Necklaces, and matching sweaters. We hid things like weakness, sadness, and things that didn’t “fit in” far back in corners of our minds, behind layers and layers of falsehoods.
Of course, I held my secrets too.
In another of Mrs. Nussbaum’s lectures, she spoke of how “you never grow out of needing to do what is right.” Mrs. Nussbaum went on, “if I cheated on a test, whether I was in Kindergarten or in College, I knew I’d find my way over my mom’s knee, and I’d have trouble sitting down.”
Mrs. Nussbaum spoke of this almost as if she were bragging. When she described her own spankings, her face grew firm and convulsed into a look I rarely saw. She recalled her childhood punishments, and you could nearly see the thoughts twitch back into place as she moved on in her lecture on a general morality topic.
“You never grow out of doing what is right, no matter how big you get.” She went on that day.
For years, I looked at Naomi as she grew firm breasts, long legs, and the dark Italian complexion of commanded by heritage. Often, from across similarly hot September classrooms, I gazed at her as a fully developed high school senior.
I wondered if the mother of this fully developed and sexier than ever before Naomi still followed the ideology pumped into her by Mrs. Nussbaum years before. I wondered if coming home late from a party earned 16 year old Naomi a red behind and a night sleeping on her tummy. I wondered if the ping-pong paddle had a name like “Mr. Corrector” or “the board of education.” I wondered if it was kept in a special place, or hung up on the wall as a “reminder.”
I wondered if she would pass on her wisdom to her own kids. I wondered if someday the little paddle would be a family treasure that she got to grip firmly, while holding a child of her own in place and dumping any rage out, into the fat deposits of the buttocks with their delicate nerve endings, ready to receive all the stimulation they could.
I also wondered why it was that rather than thinking about shoving my cock into her like a “normal” guy, I was thinking about such odd things when I checked her out. I wondered why I found myself masturbating to books by Dr. James Dobson, not the latest issue of jugs.
I often wanted to tell somebody about the “weirdness” within me. I wanted to tell others about how hot I became when spanking was discussed.
I wanted to explain why my bedroom was full of photo-copied sections of “Little House on the Prairie”, hidden under my bed. I wanted to be myself, and not get odd questions about why I didn’t have or want a girlfriend.
I wanted to come forward about this truth, and tell others. I wanted to be myself. But I knew people wouldn’t understand. They would think I was odd, or “perverted.”
I should have come forward, but I guess I just didn’t have the ‘moral courage.’