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The following story is fiction about school punishments.  If this subject is offensive, uninteresting or if you are a minor (i.e., child) please leave now.  Plagosus in his “Dear Cousin Mordred” story post in now also here at DearCousinMordred.html issued a challenge to write a reply.  This is my take on it.  That you have read the original letter before continuing is assumed.  My thanks to Plagosus for his guidance getting this into British English.

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Different Generations Cousins
Reply to Cousin Arthur


Dear Cousin Arthur,

I was most pleasantly surprised to have received your long letter by snail mail.  It was the first real letter that I have received in many months since practically everything is now done by email.  We are indebted to cousin Victoria for constructing the family tree last year complete with addresses which make it possible to reply.

I have enclosed a copy of your letter as you have probably forgotten about it over the six decades since you wrote it.  I hope you were not too hard on Henry when my grandfather told you that he never received it when you asked why he never replied.

After I opened your missive I realised that something was not right and closely examined the envelope.  The 2½d stamp and the 1955 postmark showed that the Royal Mail surely employed snails as it has taken some sixty-four years to deliver a clearly and correctly addressed letter an awesome two hundred miles away.  I can’t help but to compare it to the more than fourteen billion miles that the spacecraft Voyager 1 has achieved starting twenty years later.  (Please note that I’m using the newfangled meaning of billion at explained by the PM in 1974 long after you left school.)

Obviously your intended recipient, your first cousin Mordred, my grandfather for whom I am named may he rest in peace, never received your most interesting long missive.  Equally obvious is that he never can.  I will note that I did not violate any injunction against opening other peoples’ post as it is my name on the envelope.  I think it is an interesting coincidence that I’m now the same age as you and grandfather were back in 1955.© YLeeCoyote

Although the first person report of the details of your naughty misconduct and thrashing are unique I have heard of similar things.  Such events are discussed in books, films and even in modern schools where the masters often bemoan the fact that they can’t have the sadistic pleasure of torturing boys with the cane and the tawse.

I’m glad that this irrational and barbaric practice has been consigned to the dustbin of history.  All the anecdotal evidence I have heard, read and seen has two conflicting elements.  First, that it hurts horribly (initially always but often transforms into something much nicer) and, second, one must show how brave and macho one is and take it stoically and with a devil-may-care attitude.  Additionally, it is simply bullying, especially when done by prefects.  Absolutely no different from Pope Urban VIII’s heinous treatment of the great Galileo with the show the instruments of the horrific Inquisition threat.

As my next exhibit, er, argument is your own letter where you state, with the cane stripes still fresh, you are intent on more mischief so that caning is obviously ineffectual.

Incidentally, considering that WWII meat rationing ended only year before that incident that The Gadget made you throw away the uneaten chipolatas seems downright sinful.

But enough of my ranting about the errors of the past.  I hope that you are well and happy in the sheltered accommodation you have.  The image shown on the web looks very nice.  I have the same room as grandfather had in the old house when he was a boy that was originally purchased by my great-great-grandfather, who was your uncle, after the war.  It was a very wise decision.  I attend the highly rated Sandler Grammar school and plan to be a space scientist.

Since it not a boarding school like you attended there is a lot less cause for any disciplinary measures by the school.  For the most part they are detentions and extra exercise.  I suppose you would scoff at those and you would be right to do so.  There is always homework or reading to fill the time and a few times round the track is actually good for me for it is both exercise and a mental cooling down period.

I shared your letter with my father and asked about his experiences with CP which was not a topic we had discussed previously.  I got to spend some quality time with him.  He was relaxed after a couple of pints and thus talkative.  This is what he told me.

I was in school when CP was being phased out and got slippered a few times before starting grammar school.  There, it turned out the cane had been retired and I thought my bum was safe.  I was wrong for I was not inoculated from your grandfather’s cane.

I was your age when I got that royal roasting.  I had gotten into some trouble and there was a note from school.  Father was, in a word, displeased.  I was sent to my room to do my homework before supper.  It was before bedtime that Father showed up with the cane.

First he lectured me and had me drop my trousers and pants and bend over the side chair with my rear up and out.  The cane seared like a red-hot poker each and every time Father brought it crashing down on my bum.  It was agony!  The twelve of the best left my bum in tatters especially with the crossings when Father made a gate.  I was unable to sit comfortably for a week.  It is partly the reason I have never caned you.

That definitely was painful.

I would enjoy hearing about your further adventures (or should I say MISadventures).

Your cousin (twice removed),

Read about the visit to cousin Arthur

© Copyright A.I.L. March 12, 2021

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