“The Spanking of Your Life” – Ester’s Story
I knew Ester when I was in the seventh grade, in my small, rural, Midwest town. Her life would seem shocking to so many of the people I know now. But to those I grew up around, it was certainly out of the ordinary, but not unbelievable.
Ester had long, thick brown hair, which she never wore down, but always up in a pony tail, or a bun, or something. She also wore glasses, cheap glasses, that were held together with pieces of scotch tape. Her face was cute, smiley, and charming. Her eyes seemed to have a positive glow in them all the time. In addition, she had a great figure. She was not overweight by any means.
I got to know Ester as I sat next to her in the school choir. I was at the edge of the bass/tenor section where the few boys in the choir sat. She was on the end of the Alto section, with the women who could not reach soprano vocals.
As a result, conversations between us were inevitable. I learned a whole lot about her. Perhaps the fact that I was somewhat of a social outcast, though for different reasons than her, contributed to the developing friendship between us. She came from a very different world than, though.
She would come in and show me a Christian paperback novel that cost 4.95. “I’ve been saving my allowance for a whole two weeks to buy this!” She would proclaim. “All the kids at the youth group say it is the best.”
Ester’s family was part of an old order Baptist congregation that met outside of town. Her father was a part-time minister, and perhaps his obsession with religion was what barred him from finding any full time work. Ester told me about how her father and mother were both ex-Amish. I found it somewhat shocking, but it made sense. Ester wore long skirts and dresses to school every day, that nearly covered her ankles.
Her hair was always in a bun. Her mother did the same. Her father wore nothing but white or lightly color button down shirts. Both her mother and father had been expelled from an Amish order as young adults. Now, they clung to a conservative form of fundamentalist Baptist Christianity in order to hold on to their heritage. They lived in extreme poverty, beyond nearly anyone else in my home town.
* * * * *
The topic of spanking first came up with Ester on a day when another student was caught smoking, and suspended.
“Poor John.” She remarked. I was somewhat shocked at her sympathizing with someone committing the cardinal sin of smoking cigarettes.
“You don’t think he should be suspended?” I asked.
“No.” She said. “He should be suspended. But he should also get a spanking.” I was somewhat surprised. We were after all, seventh graders, not toddlers.
“What?” I said. “If someone is break rules like that, it shows that their parents must not care about them enough to spank them.” She remarked calmly.
“If I ever smoked, I would probably get my dad’s belt.” She remarked. “But all John will get is some vacation. No one will whip him. When my mom and dad were growing up, they paddled kids in school, but not anymore. Poor John. He will probably go to hell.”
She spoke these words with calm, almost as if she were watching a television program. Her facial expressions were relaxed. No emotion seemed to a pass through her as she spoke words about belt whippings and hellfire.
“Do you still get spanked?” I asked. “Yeah.” She said. “But you don’t smoke.” I said. She laughed.
“No! I would never smoke!” She said. “Then what do you get spanked for?” I asked.
“Hmmm…” She said. “Last time I got spanked was for yelling at my sister.”
“Oh?” I asked.
She proceeded to tell me the story of how a few weeks ago, she and her sister had been watching television with their mother.
They proceeded to have an argument. Their mother was annoyed, as she couldn’t hear the TV program over their arguing words. Finally, as the arguing became so intense, the mother gave up telling them to be quiet. She ordered them both to the bedroom they shared, and took them across her knee. Bottoms were bared, panties came down. Both cried. They were left in the room until they could agree to get along. They came back out and resumed watching the TV program, sore but willing to contain their frustration with one another.
* * * * *
On another occasion she informed me that the worst spanking she ever received was as a third grader. She and her sister, again, had been in argument. Ester, being the older sister, picked up her younger sister and threw her down the stairs into their home’s basement. When the mother had been informed, she had panicked. She forced Ester to stand in the corner, while she called up the minister.
Ester stood in the corner, desperately regretting what she had done in a fit of anger. Her knees had knocked together with fear.
“I know I should spank her…” Her mother had said in the phone, as Ester listened to half of a conversation she didn’t like.
“But it has to be a really big deal. I can’t just put her over my knee, she needs to really feel this…” The conversation went on a little longer. Finally the phone was hung up.
“Stay right there. Do not move from the corner. Your sister will be watching. I’ll be back.” Her mother had said. Ester had resumed her terrified activity of panicking as she stood in the corner. Her mother had gotten in the car and driven away. She had returned in ten minutes. The drive had enabled her mother to calm down. She walked into the house no longer in a frightened rage. She sat down at the kitchen table across from her two daughters.
“I just spoke with the minister.” She said. “I went over to visit him, and he gave my two things.”
The first thing Mrs. Fassbinder pulled from her purse was a small, rolled up poster of the ten commandments.
“This is the ten commandments. You girls know what these are.” The two daughters nodded nervously.
“This…” She said, pulling the item out as both sisters, not just Ester’s, eyes got wide, “… is the paddle.”
Both sisters gulped. It was wooden, varnished, and thick. It wasn’t as big a frat or school paddle, but just as thick.
“I will use this for the spankings when there is very serious rule breaking. It will hang in the Kitchen, next to the ten commandments.” Both sisters gulped.
“Now, Ester, you threw your sister down the stairs. She could have been seriously injured. I could call the police right now, and they would take you away. But instead, I’m doing what god intended for naughty children, that is, really naughty children. I’m not just gonna spank you, Ester, I’m going to give you the spanking of your life.”
Ester stood up, expecting to lay across her mother’s lap.
“For this kind of spanking, you lay over the chair. Pull your skirt off, and lay over the chair. I want to get a good swing.” Her mother said.
Ester obeyed. The swats struck her as if she were being hit by lightening. Her whole body jolted as the wood came down on her, time and time again. It boomed and popped like a violent thunderstorm. In desperation, Ester lost control of herself. She tried to stand up, but her mother pushed her back down on the chair.
“Stay down and take it. You earned this!” Her mother had spat out, her rage re-entering. Her mother continued to rain the blows down on her daughter who moaned and screamed. The pain was intense. When it finished, Ester was sent to her room. She sobbed and lay on her bed. In the distance, she heard her sister and her mother’s voices, though they sounded like they were miles away.
“But I didn’t do anything!” Her sister had shouted.
“No.” Her mother said. “You and your sisters were fighting. It takes two to fight. Just be lucky your not getting the paddle. If you keep back talking you will.”
She then heard the sound of her sister getting the usual pants down, over the knee hand spanking in the distance. She had cried and cried and cried. The paddle remained in the Kitchen, hung on a hook next to the ten commandments for the rest of her life.
* * * * *
Stories like this have a way of sticking with you. I look at who I am now. I live in a big city. I’m involved in circles of friends of with cultural and philosophical views that are far different than anything I ever experienced in my hometown. I know I can’t tell them these stories. To them the whole way of life that these stories came up around is foreign.
Its another world, another country almost. Its most definitely another mindset. Knowing these things is not part of who they are. But its part of who I am, and it will never go away.