On the road …again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
It's Saturday, Where Is The Yardstick?
There were seven kids in the Pellek household, so there was plenty of mischief under our roof, and elsewhere. Five boys and two girls kept our mom awake sometimes, but most of the mischief was not too serious. Each infraction, during the week, however; was kept in my mother's mental note book. Thus, by Saturday there was plenty of punishment to mete out. Saturday was the day she chose to dole out the punishment for infractions, and a wooden yardstick was the instrument of choice wielded by mother, the arbiter of justice. When she said to go and get the yardstick, we knew that our hour of reconing was at hand.
Each child was expected to stand in line for their whacks with the yardstick, starting with the oldest and continuing down the age ladder until the youngest was given his or her whacks on the backside. There were no exceptions based on gender; if a boy or a girl had three remembered infractions, it was three whacks with the yardstick. On the other hand, if one of us was a darling angel during the week, there were no whacks forthcoming. But we all still had to stand in line as Mom reviewed our record.
On some occasions she didn't remember exactly what the infraction was, so she would ask us what we in line for. Funny how we always came clean about our mischiefs. But coming clean often took twists and turns and shades of the truth until the unadorned facts were exposed.
The Saturday punishment line existed for many years; thus we were well indoctrinated about what to expect. There was no lying; and in my family we learned early on to take personal responsibily for our actions, and then to accept the consequences. A few whacks with the yardstick stung our bottoms but we always spent some time thinking about our behaviour, both before and after the sessions in discipline.
Bobbie Ann was probably punished least, and as she stands here, at this very moment, in front of my computer to affirm that truth, the reason why, as she explained, was likely because she was the quiet, most timid one in the family. She was also too young to know that we older boys had paved the way of the punishment routine so well, that by the time that she became eligible to be spanked with the yardstick, she knew what to expect on Saturday mornings. But in her behalf, she also was the most docile of our siblings. Thus, she usually didn't have nearly the number of infractions that the boisterious, exuberant boys had in their genes.
Bobbie Ann in 1964
The reader might wonder who in the family got the most whacks because of their infractious records. But that is not the issue here. The point is that we all remember standing in line for our just punishment...and that was a whack on the back side with a yardstick...on a Saturdary morning.