Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Switch

The switch

The switches’ must have come from the big willow tree out front of the house along the driveway.  Only once do I ever remember one breaking.  My child’s memory was the damn things being about three inches thick. Probably more like a half inch really; incredibly flexible.

My brother and I would be marched out to the wood shed like the condemned we were.  If you made a fuss you’d get the switch every inch of the way to the shed. I think it must have hung on a hook out on the covered and screened in deck.  I don’t remember ever seeing it there, but it would just appear as we marched out.  I’m not sure how it was determined who would go first; I think it must have been decided by one’s body language, shuffling feet would get your number up in a hurry.  It was very important to stand very still and quietly while the other got his beating.  No crying out, shuffle of feet; making that mistake would double what you had coming.  Going second was the hardest I always thought; you were expected to stand still, no crying waiting until positions were switched.

I remember one time school shoes were bought and my brother didn’t like his, so he was wearing them outside to help break them in.  We were playing around the woodshed; he put one shoe up on the chopping block and played like he was going to chop it in half.  Double bladed axe went up, came down and cut that shoe almost in half; like a knife through butter.  That was one beating I’ll never forget.

I have no idea where mom was; I’ve thought about it for years, still no idea.  Invisible.

Mom was good; she’d dress us up for school in long sleeves and pants to cover the bruises.  Even in summer with the sweltering heat; long sleeves and pants.

I have to say the worst was when my brother was only getting his beating; I’d stand so still, not even a breath.  Sometimes I’d get so dizzy I’d stumble; that would get you a turn on the switch.

In the before times; From the Ramblings


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