This is another ancestor story, but this time, I am getting closer to taday. This is my Uncle Jim, born and raised in New England on a private school campus where his father, my grandfather taught. Jim was the "middle child" of three, my mother being the eldest.. His mother, my grandmother, was busy at home, raising three active children and managing a household of that day. Jim was the "handful". He drove my grandmother to her wit's end, as she used to say. This particular story did not really happen, but it certainly could have! Jim was seven at the time of this account. If stories about spanking children offend you, please do not read further, and please do not use this story for any purpose without my permission.
My Uncle Jim imagined himself a great adventurer! He was a pirate. He took expeditions everywhere, and he fought to save maidens in distress. He also was fearless, his mother carrying enough fear for the both of them.
One day, Jim played hookey from school, as an adventure, and decided that it would be wonderful to see the world from the top of the roof of their three story campus house. He studied the outside carefully and chose a trellis to climb that led to an upstairs porch over the front door. Up he went, with ease, and once on the porch, checked to see what might go on up from there. He saw that there was a corner downspout that he could just barely reach, so he leaned way out and grabbed on tightly. Swinging on out there, he began to shinny his way on up to the roof gutter. How to clear the gutter. Now, that was a problem!
He hung on, thinking about it, and then swung his left leg over the connecting piece up onto the gutter, whereby his shoe heel got caught in the gutter. He was really stuck. He tried to get his shoe off, but he couldn't let go of the pipe. Then to make matters worse, the pipe loosened with his weight and struggle and slipped out of the connection. There he was hanging there. Of course, no one saw him.
At last, in total exhaustion, he heard the bell ring for the changing of classes. Streams of boys criss-crossed on the walkways below, and masters chatted as they headed for their next classes. Jim saw his father. He cried out to him:
"Father, help me!!!!!!!" Grandfather looked around and then up. "JIM!!!!!!! what are you doing there. Hang on! Don't move!!!
The drain pipe gave a sudden lurch and let go from the connection, swinging lightly out from the house. Jim was nearly spread eagle. My grandfather ran into the house, Grandmother came running out, and Grandfather raced to the upper porch to see what he could do. He opened the window and climbed out, but he could not reach Jim. That pipe was about to let go entirely, which would have left Jim hanging upside down by his shoe, twisting his foot. Grandmother was a wreck!
Maintenance was called, and they came with a tall ladder. Leaning it against the side of the house, they held it securely as Grandfather climbed up to get Jim. He tucked Jim under his arm in a "football" carry and slowly and carefully backed down the ladder to the porch. There was quite a crowd down below now
The maintenance man climbed the ladder and took down the pipe, which was carted away, and my uncle Jim was carted promptly to Grandfather's study.
"I have a class at the moment. You will remain here on this couch until I return. Is that clear?"
Grandfather went off to teach, and Grandmother came in to inspect the ankle. Assured that it was alright, she left Jim to worry.
After class, Grandfather returned in a rage. I guess it was all over campus at this point, and Grandfather did not appreciate the humor in the situation one bit! He pulled Jim to his feet, turned him around and leaned him over the arm of the settee. With his giant hands (Grandfather was a big man), he lit into Jim's bottom, giving six short, hard smacks with a vengence. Jim was howling.
Then he pulled Jim to his feet and told him that this was a double punishment -- one for cutting classes and one for the dangerous and destructive thing he had done. He told Jim to take down his trousers. Jim went pale.
"Do it NOW!", roared Grandfather
"Yes-s-s, Father", came Jim's not so brave voice.
Grandfather took a strap from the wall and told Jim that he would be spanked for this terrible scare he had given everyone, but Jim could hardly hear, for he was already crying. Jim stood there, with his trousers at his ankles, simply terified. Grandfather sat in his chair and called his wayward son to him, and placing him over his lap, carefully pulled down his underwear. Jim was aghast! Grandfather then gave Jim a strapping that was appropriate for a seven-year-old -- more noise and staging than actual damage. Jim was screaming and kicking. That little round bottom was getting mighty pink from all of this.
At last it was over, and Grandfather helped his sniffling son get dressed again. Jim had to do lessons at the dining room table for the rest of the day and all evening as punishment for skipping school, and his burning botom reminded him of the drainpipe excursion.