Naked flesh to smack

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I once stole a bar of chocolate from a corner shop, not noticing that the shopkeeper had seen me in her mirror.

She caught up with me and my little sister and gave me a good thrashing. Unfortunately, also my little sister told my mother what had happened and so I got another thrashing. I have never stolen anything since.

My father grew up in a poor district, similar in some ways to Tottenham and only escaped by joining the Navy in the First World War. However he was so keen that his daughters should behave that I got a good thrashing with his belt whenever I put a foot wrong. When I started Grammar School, we had so much homework, I never had time to get into mischief, and then the war came and everyone was occupied.

I had three sons and admit that the fact that they wore short trousers until 11 years old helped to ensure plenty of flesh to be smacked, although I never used a stick, nor did their father hit them. One of my sons said that a talking to was worse than my smacking!

In the holidays I also looked after two of their friends and wrote short plays for them to perform before neighbours!

On the rare occasions they came up against the law, I accompanied them and took my responsibilities on the chin. Some parents don’t realise that a child is for life!

In their young days too, although we weren’t deeply religious, there were clubs for all ages at local churches and they were also in the scouts and, for a short time I was the local secretary.

Perhaps there are things to stop the sort of action seen lately. One is to share in what one’s children are doing and persuade them that what happens now is so important to the future.

As an afterthought, I think some of the burning comes from the lack of fire in our lives today. We all had coal fires and some of us often imagined we could see scenes in them. Also we had bonfires which were always exciting. Hasn’t man always loved to sit round the fire and enjoy stories and singing?

Modern ways of communication helped increase the number of small actions.

Vera Percy, Hoole Rd, S10