This is another of my ancestor stories. As with the others, Lawrence is a real person, but this account is purely fictional. If you are offended by the spanking of children, please do not read this story. Spanking children in those times was the most common form of discipline, even though we do not recognize that as such today. Please do not use this story in any way without my permission. It is a bit long, so it has been divided into two parts to fit into the format of this site.
Larry lived in western Connecticut with his family, his father an attorney, and his mother busy with a fairly large family of six children. Larry was the fourth child in the group and the most active. One of his most endearing qualities was his incredible sense of humor. Larry thought just about everything was funny, and if things got too dull, he livened things up the best he could. He spent much time in the corner over his antics, and he heard "now just go over there and think about it!" more times than anyone he knew. At the time of this story, Larry was nine.
Larry heard from a friend that there was something called "short sheeting" a bed. He also heard that you could make the bed into a "pie bed" as well. He thought that was the funniest thing he had ever heard and set out to try it on someone in his house. After careful thought, he selected his eldest sister, who he felt had no sense of humor whatsoever. While she was at a church social with her friends, he carefully brought in the pine cones and sticks, along with the wet leaves, that he planned for the pie part of the trick. He stripped the bed, carefully tucking the top sheet into the head of the bed and folding the bottom of it up to look as though it were in proper position for the top of that sheet. He stuffed all the leaves, sticks, and pine cones inside and carefully folded the sheet over the blanket. He placed the bedspread over it all, tucking everything in carefully and perfectly. Then he ran off to play for a while before bedtime.
What Larry did not know was that Alice was not going to sleep there that night. She would be staying at the home of her dear friend, Greta Anderson. Instead, their Aunt Lucy was coming in from Boston by train and would sleep in Alice's bed, staying for the night before journeying on to New York. She would be arriving momentarily. He found out when she arrived and was called in to greet her in the living room. Although the house was of good size, Larry knew that bedrooms were scarce, so he wondered where his aunt would be sleeping. He asked his mother, and when he found out, he went ashen. There was nothing he could do at this point.....
At the appointed time, he was sent to bed, along with the other children, and all he could do was wait for the terrors to break loose. Maybe they wouldn't figure out who did this? Maybe she would leave? Maybe she would look before getting into bed? He rolled over in bed nervously, trying to block it out in his mind.
He must have fallen asleep, but there was a shriek that woke him suddenly, and when everyone ran for the hall, they found Aunt Lucy standing outside her door, pointing into the room, just trembling. Mother and Father raced inside and saw the condition of the bed, and while Mother calmed Aunt Lucy, the maid (who had been wakened) stripped the bed and began to put fresh linens on it.
Father lined up the five children and demanded to know who had been responsible. No one said a word. He ordered them downstairs to the study, and they all went as quickly as they could, barefoot and clad in just their night shirts. Once inside, Father closed the door. He turned to them and said, "I will ask you just once more. If the culprit does not confess, then I will spank you all. Do you understand?" Lips trembled, but no one said a word. Father took the three year old aside and said, "Do you know anything about this, young lady?" She looked terrified and shook her head. He told her that he believed her and took her to the door. "A three-year-old would not be able to perform such an act. She is going back to Mother and then to bed." He led her to the stairs and called to his wife who claimed their youngest child.
He then returned to the room, where before him on a row, stood four more children from four to eleven. "I do not believe that a four-year-old would be able to do this," he said. He took the child aside and asked if she knew anything about this. The frightened child shook her head and said, "No, Father." He led her from the room as well and sent her to her bed. She flew up the stairs.
Now there were three. A six-year-old, Larry, who was nine, and the eleven-year-old. "Now, the spanking will begin, I fear, for someone in this room is responsible for what happened here tonight. It is time for that person to step forward." No one said a word. Then the six-year-old ran to his father. "Please, Father, I don't know about this thing. Please send me back to bed." His father picked him up and turned to the remaining two. "Is he guilty?" Both of the children said they didn't think so, for he was too small. So, Father sent him to bed as well.
Of the last two, The eldest was a daughter. She pleaded with her father to listen to her defense. "I have no idea what happened in there. I saw Aunt Lucy, but I don't know what happened to her. " She put her hands over her eyes and burst into tears. Father looked at Larry and asked. "Larry, do you think she did this to Aunt Lucy?" Larry looked down and was silent. "Why can't you answer, son? Is it because you did this?" Larry was frozen and silent. He knew he was caught. "Umm.. it was supposed to be for Alice not for Aunt Lucy. I didn't know that Aunt Lucy was coming here tonight...."
Father sent the elder daughter up to bed and confronted his nine-year-old. "Where did you learn of such a dastardly thing to do to your sister? Did you think it would be fine to do such a thing to any human being?" Larry looked down and shook his head in sorrow and shame. "It isn't so funny now, is it, young man?!" "No sir..."
Father sent Larry to the couch and had him lift his nightshirt to his waist. "You are to bend over the arm of the couch and remain there until I tell you to get up!" Larry obeyed in terror. Father went out into the front hall and got his cane from the closet, returning with it to the study. He closed the door behind him, and watched his young son squirm in fear. He went to Larry's side and gave him two good whacks with the cane across both cheeks of his bare bottom. Larry had never felt the cane before, and he screamed out in pain and terror. His father put the cane down and lifted Larry up. He led him to his chair and placed him over his knees, where he lifted the nightshirt and spanked him with his hand soundly. Larry wiggled and struggled all over his father's lap, but Father let the spanks rain down steadily. That little bottom got pinker and pinker and began to turn a shade of red. The little legs kicked and kicked, and Larry cried his eyes out.
"Playing tricks (spank) at the expense (spank) of others is not funny, (spank) young man! I (spank) will (spank) not (spank) have (spank) it Do you understand? (spank) (spank) (spank) (spank)"
Larry sobbed and pleaded for mercy, saying that he would never do such a thing again. His father lifted him up and told him that he would have to go up to Aunt Lucy and tell her how very sorry he was that this had happened. Larry was so filled with shame, that his father sensed that he would have trouble doing this. So, he took Larry and held him on his lap to calm him down. "I will go with you. We will tell her together, so she will feel that she can trust us to come back and visit again some time. Are you ready, son?" Larry nodded, wiping his tears. His father took out his handkerchief and wiped his young son's eyes, hugging him as he did so. Then he stood up and carried him gently up the stairs to Aunt Lucy's bedroom. The finishing touches were just being put on the bed when they arrived, and Aunt Lucy turned to look at Father and Larry. "We have something to tell you, Aunt Lucy. Isn't that right, Larry?" Larry nodded, twisting his hair by his left ear. Aft! er! a few seconds of silence, Larry said, "I'm sorry that this happened, and I will never hurt you again. It was an accident, and I was wrong." Aunt Lucy reached out for him and gave him a kiss. "You are a good boy, Larry. I know this was not intended for me. It is all right now. Thank you, dearie."
A very tired and contrite little boy was carried off to bed and tucked in by a loving father, who kissed his young son as he pulled the covers up around him. Larry was asleep instantly.