The summer of 1974 stands out in my mind as a particularly memorable one. There was a lot going on that summer. The Watergate hearings were on all of the three channels we had, so days were spent trying to find some amusement to replace watching TV. I got my first period that summer as well. It happened in June, about a week after school let out. I had felt it coming. My twin, Carol, had started that January and never lost a chance to tell me she was a "woman", while I was still a little girl. She had also taken to wearing a training bra while I remained in undershirts. Aside from getting "the curse" as we called it, I had my first cigarette, too. I remember to this day being over at my friend Lisa Q's house. She had just gotten a new kitten and Carol and I went over to see it. While we were in her room, she snuck over to her older brother, Roger's, room and came back with one of his smokes. Now Lisa had what I would call a "princess bedroom", complete with a four poster bed (with a canopy) and priscilla drapes. I was horrified that she was going to "flick her Bic" with all that lace so close. But she did. It was a Marlboro and I remember the room filled with acrid smoke as soon as she lit it. I didn't live with cigarette smokers (my father preferred cigars or a pipe and my mother was a life-long non-smoker) so I wasn't used to the smoke. She held the cigarette out, asking if we wanted to try. As with everything else in our lives, Carol got the courage first. I'm sure we coughed and carried on, but it was the beginning of 32 years of being hooked. Anyway, besides getting my period and having that first smoke, something else happened that summer. It was something that shaped me and something I have never forgotten.
Even as a skinny, knock-kneed 13-year-old, I already knew I was interested in spanking. I had a crush on Mike Donlin, who lived with his parents, a college age brother and two younger siblings just three doors down from us. Mike was a high school kid and far too old for me to seriously consider dating. Anyway, Mike was already dating a girl who lived down the street; a girl from a nice, Irish family called Athey. The name of the older sister is lost to my memory. But I remember the younger sister, Dawn, who was my age. Dawn acted haughty, like she was better than other people. When we were younger, she had a doll I would have killed to have. It was large enough to require real baby clothes, which she purchased at garage sales. Anyway, we were way past that age. Dawn had left her gawky stage and was turning into a blond haired blue eyed beauty. She liked attention and knew how to get it. She was aware that boys found her pretty and lost no chance to use it to her advantage. The Donlin's were wonderful people, friendly and gracious and would have anyone over in the summer for tea or lemonade and Mrs. Donlin's famous ice cream cakes. One day, me and Dawn were over at the Donlin's watching Mary Anne, the lone daughter, do her toenails. She wore a pale yellow bikini and had her chestnut hair in a bun. The college age brother, name Tom, was home for the summer getting ready to cut the grass. He was tall, probably about 6'4" or so and rather stockily built. But Mike was the one I had my eye on. Unlike the rest of his family, who had reddish hair and brown eyes, Mike was fair haired with blue eyes. He was a dream. Tom came out to tell us that we had better clear the area because he was going to be running the lawn mower. Mary Anne and I were sitting on a white painted wrought iron bench, while Dawn sat on a matching chair nearby. When Tom came out and made his announcement, Marry Anne and I dutifully got up to go to the driveway, where she kept a chaise lounge. Dawn didn't budge. She was wearing a pink terry cloth one-piece short thingy. They were all the rage that summer. Hers was strapless and showed off her perfect tan and budding chest. Tom went over and started the lawn mower, n0t realizing Dawn was still sitting in the chair. I guess he was so concentrating on the task at hand that he didn't notice her. Well, Dawn hated not being noticed and when he made a pass by her, which sprayed her with grass clippings, she sputtered and made a fuss over it. She was standing there calling him every name in the book. He shut off the mower and walked towards her with quick, purposeful strides. I knew immediately what was about to befall her. Tom marched over to her, grabbed her by the arm, walked over to the bench and turned her across his knee, still swearing a proverbial blue streak. I was blushing because I had never heard such language before. He pulled the pink terry cloth one-piece short thingy into a wedgie, baring Dawn's bottom. This made her even more indignant as she threatened to tell her older brother, Dan, and he would come over and clean his clock. Tom didn't reply to any of this. He simply gave her one of the hardest and longest spankings I've seen to this day. By the time he stood her on her feet, her bottom was bright red and her freckled face was streaked with tears. I didn't know what to say so I wisely kept my mouth shut. I had a feeling that Tom had been wanting to do that for years.
A few days later, I was standing in line with some other kids waiting for the snow cone man. Two older boys, John and Doyle, came driving by in Doyle's car, an old model of undetermined make. When he saw the group of us, all girls, standing there, John grabbed something out of the car and put his arm out the window, shaking it. I saw immediately that he held a paddle.
"Don't let us catch any of you out here again!" he warned. "If we do, you won't sit for a good long time!"
I turned to my friend, Julie; the one I had shared so many school paddlings with.
"What was that about?" I asked.
We figured they were just blowing hot air. Anyway, I didn't see them around for awhile so I figured there was nothing to it. About a week later, I had walked the five blocks to the gas station near my house to buy some cigarettes. I remember I was wearing a pair of cut off shorts and a peasant blouse that day and I had purchased the smokes from the machine out front. They were cheaper from the attendant, but I knew there was no way Mal (my buddy from the skating rink) was going to sell them to me. I tucked them into my back pocket and started for home. There was a grade school (and not the one I attended) right across the street from this gas station and the school had a big, open field. As I entered school grounds, I heard the engine of a car being gunned nearby. Looking behind me, I saw it was Doyle's car. I would never outrun them. So I made a beeline for the field, running as fast as my skinny legs would carry me. I heard the car engine and die and saw John and Doyle getting out to chase me on foot. Doyle had the paddle this time. It didn't take them long to catch me. I put up one hell of a fight, believe that.
"What did I say about catching you kids around here?" Doyle asked.
"It's a free country!" I replied brattily.
"Not for you, it ain't," John replied. "I meant what I said before. Now you're gonna get yours, little girl."
"I'm NOT a little girl!" I protested.
Doyle and John lost no time in getting me on the ground and it took both of them to get me turned over on my stomach.
"Well, lookee here," Doyle said, taking the cigarettes from my pocket. "This bad girl smokes."
"Hey, those are mine!" I said. "Give 'em back!"
Back in those days, cigarettes didn't come in a crush proof box (called a hard pack when they first came out). They came in soft packs that were easily damaged.
"Little girls shouldn't be smoking," Doyle admonished. "Now to teach you a lesson!"
With that, John held me down while Doyle paddled me. He simply unloaded on me like no one had ever done before. Even as naive as I was concerning boys, I knew that neither Doyle nor John cared if I smoked or not. In fact, they might have found me a bit more alluring after the fact. I thought they were doing it for pure meanness. It turns out that this really WAS a warning. That gas station had a shop where people could come in and get a tire changed or get their oil checked. Mr. Willoughby, the man who owned this station, along with Doyle and John and some others (including Doyle's older brother, Dave) smoked grass and played cards in the shop when there was no business. Because of the Watergate hearings, business was slow. Turns out, they had seen me go in to buy my cigarettes and had come after me as soon as they saw me leave. They didn't want us going into the shop and seeing what they were doing. But I have had some time to think about this and I believe there was another reason. I believe those boys were horny and curious and spanking had always been an acceptable way of touching a girl's bottom without getting into too much trouble. I consider this my first erotic spanking. I was certainly turned on, despite how angry and embarrassed I was. It was a way for them to get some sexual release without having to do anything sexual to me. I may have been interested in spanking, but I fought them tooth and nail.
"Man, this one's a little hellcat!" Doyle said and continued to swing the paddle.
I was exhausted and in tears when they finally got back in their car.
"That was a baby spankin'," John said pointing at me. "You'll get the real thing if we catch you around here again!"
My bottom felt like a thousand bees were stinging it and I could barely walk. I tried to crane my neck and survey the damage, but I couldn't stretch my neck that far. When I got home, I looked in the mirror. I was aghast. My whole bottom was bruised and the bruising extended to the backs of my thighs. Nowadays, I always look at my bottom after I get spanked. But this was the first time I did it that wasn't from my father or a teacher. Two days later, they got my friend, Lisa, pulling her off her bike as she rode home from summer school. She told her older brother, Roger about it and Roger and some of his friends paid John and Doyle a visit. My mother was a nurse and told us about John being brought into the ER with a broken arm. My mother knew John's family, the Ufens, well because she had been selling Avon to his mother for years and we also shared German heritage so we often saw them at Oktoberfest. I smiled to myself at the justice of it. If only my older brother had been able to do something like that. If you think having his arm in a cast dissuaded John from continuing the campaign of terror, you're wrong. He just never messed with Lisa again.
People who are young and don't remember these days may think this was barbaric. But we always considered things like this to be a rite of passage. We were just innocent teenagers back then. That Summer of '74 stands out as a momentous one for me. I was no longer a child, but not yet a woman either. I was curious to see if, like my friend Dawn, I had any kind of allure. Now what I'm about to relate still shames me deeply to this day. But to pay for my new cigarette habit, I needed cash. My allowance (plus the money I'd made that summer detassling corn) wouldn't support me. So I devised a way to make money. For $1, I would allow a boy to put his hand in my pants for ten seconds. Any boy with the money was given this privilege and word soon spread about my enterprise. I still had a crush on Mike Donlin and offered to let him have the honor for free. He pushed me away and told me take my hot pants somewhere else. I was stunned by his reaction. It never occurred to me that Mike was a nice Catholic boy and was mortified at the thought of compromising me in any way. He took me by the shoulders and shook me.
"You should have more respect for yourself than that," he scolded. "You should value yourself. Now go on home and hope to God I don't tell your dad."
"Are you gonna pay for my smokes?" I asked.
"That's a silly question," he replied. "Of course I'm not."
"Well, then I need money," I told him. "I make it the only way I know how."
"There are plenty of ways to make money," he said.
He was right, of course. But maybe, just maybe, like those boys who had chased me down and paddled me, I had mixed a bit of business and pleasure. Whatever the case, I stopped doing that after Mike's reaction. It was an interesting summer for sure.