by Susan Thomas
Erin attended a rather pushy private girls' school where she worked hard and did well. In spite of an August birthday that meant she was very young in her year group, she was always at the top in terms of her marks or exam results. So when the results came in and Erin had done outstandingly well with five A-Levels all at top grades even though she was not eighteen for another five days, everyone was happy. So at first was Erin, but then the normally happy, even tempered girl became unhappy and tetchy. Did she really want to go to university when she was only eighteen by a matter of a couple of weeks? She thought of voluntary service, perhaps overseas, but it was all a bit late. Erin's mum got on Skype to her sister in the US.
"Well she could come and stay with us. We'd love to have her we haven't seen her, other than on this thing, since she was ten years old. Look, how about she comes to us and delays university? She can work in the business and everything will be different for her."
Erin's Aunt Nicola and Uncle Jack ran a garden/farm power equipment business (sales and repair) in a small town in a southern state. Erin's mum wasn't sure about this idea as her sister and brother in law were quite religious in a traditional and strongly religious area. Erin though had no doubts and threw herself into making the arrangements, but even so the year advanced towards Christmas and snow lay thickly on the ground in their Lancashire village before Erin flew off to stay with her aunt and uncle.
The childless couple greeted her warmly at the airport, her aunt practically hugging the life out of her. "My you've grown into such a pretty young lady. Videos just don't do justice to you." Erin blushed and allowed herself to be hugged by her uncle who tactfully went more gently than his wife.
By the time they got back to her aunt and uncle's house Erin was feeling tired and grubby from the long trip but the next day (a Saturday) had bounced back to her usual self, except more cheerful than she had been for a while. Her uncle had to run the business where she would be working as from Monday but her aunt took her to meet the neighbours. Next door lived the McWilliams with four children; the youngest aged four whose pictures covered the fridge and a whole wall of the kitchen and the oldest was a deeply shy girl with braces. Two boys in the middle were out somewhere playing. After all the introductions and explanations Erin's eye suddenly caught sight of a strange thing hanging on the wall of the family room. It was the same size and shape as a hairbrush with an oval back but it wasn't a hairbrush since it lay flat on the wall.
"What is that?" Erin wasn't impolite just deeply curious.
The eldest girl went bright red and hurried from the room and her mother laughed. "Why that's Mr Sting our spanking paddle. When the madam there who just ran out acts up, Mr Sting helps out."
"Why yes of course."
Erin's aunt explained that things were different in Britain and the neighbour, who clearly thought this very strange explained, "Why most folks around here spank the older ones when they act up. In fact our church has put structures on it all, and that there is one of the church approved paddles."
The neighbour's husband added more. "This is a standard paddle for girls of eighteen years of age."
Erin was politely indignant. "No spanking for the boys then?"
"Don't you worry about that Erin; it's the strap for the boys and there is a church approved strap, but our boys aren't old enough for that so we don't have one."
Next Erin was taken to another neighbour with a girl also eighteen whose birthday was October; she was just a couple of months younger than Erin. Kerry was warm and welcoming and took Erin up to her room chattering nineteen to the dozen and inviting her to come later on to a friend's house where a group of girls were going to mess around in a swimming pool. Erin naturally was keen but as they sat chatting she noticed hanging on Kerry's wall something she had seen before.
"Is that a Mr Sting?"
"Mr Sting? Well it's a church spanking paddle if that's what you mean but we don't call it Mr Sting."
"Get spanked with it? Yes that's it. I have to have it hanging here so I always remember I could get it - as if I would forget. What do you get spanked with?"
"Er... well actually I don't. Get spanked that is. Very few kids in the UK do, in fact I don't know anyone who does."
"But you get the paddle or whatever at school, right? I don't mean you have but you could do. We can get paddled, only I never have been and don't want to be either."
"No it's banned back at home. It was banned long before I was born but I don't know when."
"You don't get spanked at home or school, how about church?"
"Church! No way, that would never happen."
Suddenly Erin saw a flash of something cross Kerry's face. Was it jealousy, envy or something more unpleasant? It came and went quickly because Kerry was a nice girl but it suddenly crossed Erin's mind that an unspanked eighteen year old in a place where all the other girls were spanked might not be popular. This possibility was confirmed for her later at the pool to the general amazement of the other girls that she wasn't spanked and never had been. Still they all were warm and welcoming and she had a good time and was even invited out in the evening, but her aunt and uncle were having friends to dinner and she pretty much had to be there so they could show her off.
She spent most of dinner sat next to a thirteen year old with a brace who was amazed she had never seen the Queen, Buckingham Place or the Tower of London. She explained that her Lancashire village was a long way off from London but when she went to university she would visit and send her lots of photos. Erin wasn't sure she could take too much more of being the centre of attention but everyone was so nice to her she simply couldn't feel aggrieved.
Later as she got ready for bed her aunt came in to wish her goodnight and have a little chat and Erin broached something that was very much on her mind. "Auntie, this spanking stuff with these church paddles which all the girls I've met seem to get, does that apply to me too?"
"Heavens child, have you been worrying about it? Goodness me no of course not. You're not our daughter and not having any children of our own we've never had to spank anyone. Besides you're quite well behaved I'm sure."
"Well most of the time I am, though mum says I have what she calls 'my moments'."
"I'm sure you do but we'll manage I'm sure and I suppose if you were really awful we would just pack you off back to England - but I can't really see that happening can you?"
They both had a laugh over that and Erin's Aunt Nicola had the lovely experience of a hug and a kiss from her niece.
The next morning was church and Erin put on one of her specially bought dresses which she had been warned were pretty well obligatory for a girl in this highly conservative area. Erin's family were not regular church goers; a little more than Easter and Christmas but not much. However, it was all a new experience for her and she was stunned at how large the church building was. They entered through a main door and into a large foyer. To the right was the worship part of the building, to the left a large hall and many rooms for teaching groups, and in front of her was an area for the main church office and other offices and a large shop. Her aunt and uncle seemed to get dragged away and she was left by herself so wandered into the shop.
There were many books ranging from books for children through Bibles and reference books to adult Christian fiction. There were Christian magazines and study packs on all sorts of things including sex and marriage. Finally in one corner, but it drew her eyes as if spotlighted, an area with the very paddles she had seen in two houses plus the straps she had been told about, with a whole host of written material and CD's about raising children. Erin wandered over and found that in addition to the paddles and straps there were behaviour contracts for older teenagers but she had no time to view anything properly because her aunt came hurrying up to take her into the service.
Now I am sad to report that Erin did not give a great deal of attention to the spiritual feast that doubtless was on offer; most of the time her mind wandered to other thoughts although she did notice it was considerably more lively than the services at her local church back home. Later when telling the stories of Erin's arrival, her aunt would say that God spoke to Erin at that service. I am not fit to judge such a thing but from what Erin told me it was just the thinking that had begun the day before coming to a head.
When they were free of the many people who wanted to say hello, Erin took her aunt and uncle to the shop and right to the child raising corner. "Look I know this is going to sound mad and all but I want to buy one of these paddles and I want you to tell everyone you will use it on me if I misbehave. I don't feel comfortable with being with all these other really nice girls when they can get spanked but I can't. It will upset them. I've already seen that though they tried to hide it."
"But Erin," began her uncle slowly, "we can't do that. It would be telling lies. You see if we hang that up and tell everyone we'll use it they will believe it, but it wouldn't be true now would it."
Erin shook her head, "I'm sorry, I haven't explained that very well. It would be true don't you see because you would use it if I misbehaved. Then I would be in the same position as the other girls. I mean I'm not that bad so it wouldn't happen much if at all, or at least I don't think so, but just the fact it could would make us all equal 'cos some of them don't get spanked much."
Had her aunt and uncle more experience with dealing with teenagers they might have been able to dissuade her; but in any event they did believe that a good spanking for a misbehaving teenager was in fact the very best means of correction. However, they wouldn't let Erin pay, her uncle bought both a paddle and a Behaviour Pack (Your guide to using Godly corporal correction with an errant teenager, includes: behaviour agreement, guidance on dealing with misbehaviour, punishment guide, record keeping pack and CD Rom).
Aunt Nicola and Uncle Jack also checked with Erin's parents whether they gave permission. Strangely her parents weren't at all bothered having a sort of When in Rome do as the Romans do attitude. So all three sat down in the afternoon and worked out some agreements about expectations with sanctions (for which read spanking) and wrote them up using the forms provided.
On the Monday Erin started at the business and proved not only to be hard working and personable but also a quick learner. There was a large showroom with a large range of equipment; a parts department run by an old guy who seemed to know the ins and outs of every machine ever invented; and a large servicing department. Erin turned out to be brilliant at sales quickly learning about the goods on offer and reading the manuals when things were slack. She also spent time in servicing with the chief mechanic Arni Baasch who was stunned at how adept she was. Jack began to wish she was his daughter and would join him in the business.
Erin did not get into any trouble at all for some time. Then one night her aunt found her still up using Skype to chat to new friends in town.
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