Forced Back To School In Shorts
I guess this is where my love hate relationship with school uniforms and t-bar sandals began and it is as near as I can remember bearing in mind this happened back in the early 1970’s. I don’t know if this will strike a chord with anyone else, but if it does I’d love to hear about it.
So on to my story.
A week or so before the school broke up for the Easter holidays when I had just turned 13, I was going into the last lesson of the day, which was English. While we waited outside the classroom a couple of my friends were egging me on to slide into the classroom. I was wearing my army cadet boots which had hobnails in the soles, and I loved to slide on the concrete with them showering clouds of sparks. Never one to back down from a dare, I charged into the classroom and slid towards my desk.
Unfortunately Mr. Ellis, the teacher, was already in the classroom and saw exactly what happened.
The floor was wood and the hobnails left some large scratches in the surface. To make matters worse, I tripped and landed on my knees, tearing a big hole in my school trousers. Mr. Ellis was incensed and I thought he was actually going to hit me as he charged out from behind his desk to where I had fallen and yanked me to my feet.
What do you think your game is he bellowed in my face? I tried to stammer out a reply but words failed me. There was no way I could try to defend my actions in scratching the floor by making it out to have been done accidentally and I just hung my head in shame. Mr. Ellis marched me by the scruff of the neck down to the Headmaster, Mr Weadon.
He explained to the head what I’d done and left me to go back to the class. Mr. Weadon read me the riot act then gave me 6 of the best across the seat of my trousers. I was then made to stand in the corner of his office while he phoned my parents and explained the situation to them. I could hear on the phone that my mum was not best pleased and dreaded the consequences when I got home.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Mr Weadon then went on to tell mum that he had been going to ring her regarding another aspect of my behaviour, that of bullying one of the younger pupils at the school. I had no idea what he was talking about until he started to tell her about young Paul Irvine. He explained that I had been one of the ringleaders in making the boy’s life a misery at school by continually taunting him because his parents made him wear grey short trousers to school. I just thought it was a lark not really bullying because I never hit him or anything. Not only that I used the teasing of him to deflect the teasing away from myself because at a smidgen over 4 feet 10, I was one of the smallest kids in school.
I couldn’t hear what was being said, but had grave misgivings for the near future. When he’d finished on the phone Mr. Weadon told me to come back to his desk. He again read the riot act and told me that if there was any further bad behaviour from me he would not hesitate to expel me from the school. He then told me to sit down and take off my army boots. I didn’t dare argue, and gingerly sat on my tender bottom as I undid the boot laces and took them off.
Mr. Weadon picked up the boots and put them into the cupboard where lost property was kept. He rummaged about in a box then pulled out some footwear for me. I couldn’t believe it when he handed me a pair of black plimsolls with an elastic gusset over the foot. These were only worn by really young kids and I didn’t want to put them on, but Mr. Weadon told me that if I didn’t I would not be coming back to school at the end of the Easter Holidays as he would expel me.
With my eyes stinging from the tears I slowly slipped my feet into the plimsolls then made my way back to the class. Mr. Ellis made sure everyone knew what I was wearing so there was no way I could try to hide the fact. After the lesson was over I made my way through the throng of pupils to Mr Weadon’s office to get my boots back. Many of the kids poked fun at me and I began to regret making fun of young Paul as I now knew how he must have felt.
Mr. Weadon wouldn’t give me back the boots and told me that I had to go home in what I was wearing. He also told me that my mum had agreed and that it was to be part of my punishment. With tears in my eyes I once again left his office and began the long walk home.
Mum was furious and when she asked why I wore my army boots to school, I lied and told her that I didn’t have any other shoes as I had outgrown them. She already knew that my shoes were okay so I got another dose of the cane for lying, then got sent to bed without any supper and my shoes were thrown away.
I thought the incident had been forgotten with the exception that I had to wear the horrid plimsolls all the holiday. The Saturday before we went back to school however, I discovered that I had been sorely mistaken.
Mum took me into town for some new trousers and shoes, ready to wear to school on Monday. We went into the schools shop in town and mum told me to go into the changing room and take off my jeans and t-shirt while she got me some new shirts to try and some trousers.
I had gotten down to my socks and underpants when she stuck her head through the curtain and told me to take off my socks as well because I was getting me some new ones. I did as she said and took off my socks. She stuck her hand through the curtain and handed me a new grey shirt. I put the shirt on then the tie which was next through the curtain, followed by a pair of socks. Not ordinary socks, these were grey knee socks and had a light blue band surrounded by two navy blue bands around the turn over. The only boy I knew that wore them was Paul Irvine though others probably did, but under their long trousers. I started to complain to her, but she told me to be quiet and put them on unless I wanted some more of the cane.
I sulked a bit but did as I was told figuring it didn’t matter because nobody would see them under my trousers anyway. Next mum gave me a grey jumper that like my new socks had blue bands around the cuffs and neck. This had been part of the uniform up until the previous year but was now being phased out. The new uniform was just plain grey as were the socks.
This paled to insignificance however, when the next item came through the curtain. I took the trousers that mum gave me and shook them out to unfold them, but then realised she had given me a pair of grey school shorts. I stuck my head out of the curtain and called her back. She walked over and asked me what the problem was? You’ve given me a pair of shorts I said in a hoarse whisper. I know she replied, because that’s what you are going back to school in, now get them on and come out here so that I can see. I told her no I wouldn’t wear them because they were for little kids. She gave me a menacing look and told me that I had behaved like a little kid, by bullying a younger boy and tearing my big boy’s trousers and that from now on I would only be wearing little boy’s short school trousers. She also told me to be quick about dressing unless I wanted another dose of the cane.
I was stunned, as I sat back on the small chair and with tears again stinging my eyes put my feet into the grey school shorts noticing as I did, that the label inside stated that they were for ages 8 to 9 years. I drew them up and to my dismay found they were a perfect fit. I summoned all my courage and stepped out into the shop where I could be seen. Mum and the shop assistant told me how smart I looked in my new uniform and the assistant then got a new blazer for me. Again I couldn’t believe what I was given to wear. The new school blazer was just plain black, but the one given to me was navy blue wool with sky blue piping, which was the old style that was again being phased out.
Mum told me to put my plimsolls back on and as I did so she bought lots of pairs of new socks a couple more jumpers and 3 more pairs of grey school shorts. When I had the plimsolls on I came back to the counter where she was waiting to pay. She turned to me and gave me a school cap which matched the blazer and was again something that was being phased out and not worn by many of the other kids. The look she gave me prevented me from saying anything I just placed the cap on my head with tears in my eyes.
The last item I was given to wear was a double breasted gabardine raincoat. It was sunny outside so once I had tried it on mum took it off me and placed it on the counter with the rest of my new school uniform. I was mortified when the assistant asked if I needed a new cubs uniform too as they had a sale on. Ah now there’s an idea mum said and told him to sort me one out. I just hung my head, I couldn’t believe it, mum was going to get me a new cub-scout uniform despite the fact that I was over 13 and in my second year at senior school. I didn’t have to try it on but the thought that mum had actually bought me a cub-scout uniform had me wondering what would be next. As it turned out I didn’t have long to wait to find out.
Mum gathered up the purchases and told me to come on as we were going to get me some new shoes. I asked her if I could change back into my t-shirt and jeans but she told me no. I followed her out to the car fully expecting people to start ribbing me about my uniform, but nobody seemed to notice and I relaxed a little.
We drove over to the other side of town to the large shoe shop which sold both Clarks and Start-rite shoes. We went in and bumped straight into my school friend Steve Jennings. He laughed when he saw me and started ribbing me about going back to primary school. I hoped mum would say something, but she just smiled then said it’s not nice is it?
Steve’s mum looked a bit shocked at first when she realised who I was, but then smiled and complemented me on my smart appearance. Then turned to Steve and told him that unless he wanted to end up going to school dressed like me, he had best watch his step and not be nasty to me. She then propelled my evilly grinning mate outside.
When Steve and his mum had gone, I agreed with my mum and told her I was sorry I had bullied Paul Irvine and that I really didn’t want to go back to school like this. She laughed at that and told me that I had better get used to it because that is how I would be dressed from now on or at least until I showed her that I was grown up enough to go back into long trousers.
She told me to sit on the chair take off my plimsolls and wait. I did as she said and she went over to find an assistant. When they came back to me the assistant was carrying several boxes that he placed on the floor. He had me stand on a measuring gauge as he measured my feet, then selected one of the boxes and took off the lid. He told me to sit down and pulled my foot up to the stool he was sitting on. He took the shoe out of the box and I looked on in abject horror as he began to buckle a brown Clarks t-bar school sandal onto my foot.
I looked at mum and pleaded with her, but she just said it’s either this or I will take you over my knee remove your shorts and pants and spank you right here and now in this shop. You will then still end up wearing those sandals to school. I sobbed as the assistant finished off buckling on the other sandal and he then had me stand up and walk up and down the shop. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and realised my fears were justified, I looked like a 9 year old.
I pleaded with mum again for some shoes to go with the sandals and she told me that I was going to get a pair of shoes. I breathed a sigh of relief, at least I thought I could get out of the house in the sandals then change into my shoes before I got to school. If only I could figure a way of getting some long trousers as well I would be okay.
The assistant came back with another box, which he opened and took out a shoe. My face must have been a picture as I again looked with horror at the shoe he was holding. It was a girls single bar Mary-Jane shoe in navy blue leather. Noo I cried I cant wear those. Mum snarled at me and told me to be quiet and that I would wear whatever she decided from now on. I wiped away the tears and sniffled as the assistant first took off my new sandals and fitted the Mary-Jane’s onto my feet.
I was ordered to walk up and down the shop again and this time noticed that several other parents and children were watching with some amusement at what I was wearing. When I sat down mum told me that I would be wearing them at my cousins wedding in two weeks time. She said that when my cousin had asked if I would be a pageboy with her younger brother Michael, she had told her no. That despite 9 year old Michael and myself looking similar in stature I was too old to wear the white sailor suit with short trousers that my younger cousin was going to have to endure. Because of my trouble however, she had decided that I was now going to be a pageboy with Michael and that I would wear the same clothes as him. She then asked the shop assistant if he had any white knee socks in my size.
The assistant went out to the stockroom and when he returned he had 2 packets of white socks. I couldn’t help but notice that they were labelled girls school socks. We only have these he told mum, to which she replied they would be fine. The assistant sat at the stool and removed my shoes and socks, then replaced them with the white socks. I was mortified at having to once again walk up and down the length of the shop but this time wearing what were quite obviously little girl’s shoes and socks.
Worse was to come though because mum then bought a pair of bright red girl’s sandals for me to play in and I was forced to go home in my new school uniform with girl’s white school knee socks and a pair of Start-rite navy blue leather Mary-Jane shoes.
When we got home I was told to stay in my uniform and also stay indoors to keep clean as we were going back out in about an hour’s time. I pleaded with mum to let me take off the Mary-Jane shoes and girls socks, but she told me that we were going to the bridal shop to get me fitted for my pageboy’s suit. She went upstairs and told me to watch tv for a while. Feeling thoroughly dejected and really not looking forward to school on Monday I did as I was told.
Twenty minutes or so later mum came down with some bin-liners and put them in the car. She made us some lunch and we sat and ate it. All the time we were eating lunch I begged and pleaded with mum not to make me go to school dressed as I was when she told me not to worry that I wouldn’t be going dressed like it. A flood of relief washed over me until she told me with a laugh that I would be wearing my sandals and my grey school knee socks.
After lunch we headed out to the bridal wear shop. On the way we stopped at a Red Cross charity shop and she had me help her get the bin-liners out of the boot and take them in.
When we got there my cousin was waiting for us and she smiled at my appearance. She gushed over how smart I looked and the fact that she was so grateful for me agreeing to help out with her brother as pageboy. Mum just glared at me so I didn’t say I was being forced to. The shop was quiet so they had me ***** to my underpants without going into a changing room. I started to protest but mum just gave me that look.
When I was down to my underpants white knee socks and Mary-Jane shoes, the lady owner measured me for the suit and told me to cheer up. When the measurements were done I got dressed again and we went home. When we got home mum told me to get changed into the clothes she had put on the bed for me to wear and hang up my uniform.
I went upstairs to my room and looked at what mum had put out for me. I sat on the bed and cried for about ten minutes when I saw the clothes then, with new resolve I decided that I was not going to wear them. No, I thought, I am going to wear my jeans and t-shirt and went to the wardrobe to get them out. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the cupboard. It looked like a seven year olds wardrobe. All my clothes were gone and in their place was a whole lot of new stuff.
There was not a pair of long trousers in sight and all the shirts were like little kids would wear. There were things like a yellow Winnie-the-Pooh t-shirt and the short trousers were all pastel colours.
I stood there with my mouth open unable to believe what I was seeing when a noise behind, made me turn around. I turned to find mum behind me with a smile on her face. You haven’t changed she said, in a matter of fact manner. What did I tell you about obeying the rules from now on she asked? I just stood and looked at her then shouted at her for putting all this stupid kids stuff in my wardrobe. I demanded to know where my clothes were and told her that there was no way I was going to wear these clothes.
Mum grabbed my wrist and dragged me over to the bed. Without any trouble what-so-ever she quickly had my school shorts and underpants off and me draped over her knee.
I received the hardest spanking I have ever had for the next five minutes. She must have smacked me thirty times on each of my bum cheeks, which were on fire by the time she had finished. She stood me up and told me that I had helped her take all my old clothes into the Red Cross and these clothes were the only ones I had so I had better get used to wearing them, because my punishment had just increased by six months. She told me that she had intended to let me back into clothes more suited to a boy my age at the start of the autumn school term, but because of my outburst, that duration had just been extended to this time next year, by which time I would be fourteen.
I stood howling from the spanking and pleading with mum, but she simply said I can extend it by another six months if you like. Realising I was on a loser, I quickly changed my tune and through my sobs I agreed to do as I was told. Good she said and started to take off my school sweater tie and shirt. She had me sit on the bed and took off the Mary-Jane shoes. She then put the red sandals on over my girl’s school socks. She had me step back into my under pants and then slipped a t-shirt over my head. It was a pale yellow one with pictures of The Clangers on it. She had me step into the pale yellow shorts that matched the shirt and pulled them up. These were definitely a young child’s shorts as they had a fully elastic waist and no fly, which meant I would have to pull them down to have a pee.
She told me to go and play outside in the back garden until tea and warned me not to get dirty. Fortunately the back garden was fairly secluded so I had no fears about going out dressed as I was. I played on my own until she called me in for tea at six-o-clock. After tea I was told to get in the bath and she would come up to wash me. I started to argue and she just raised her hand to shut me up and said I can extend your punishment. I said no more I just went up and took off my new clothes, which I left on the bed and went through to the bathroom. She came up just after I had gotten in and washed me all over.
Finally she got me out and dried me off them sprinkled talc all over me before leading me naked into the bedroom. In the bedroom, she took some new pyjamas out of the dresser and put them on me. I just hung my head in shame at the Winnie-The-Pooh motif on the shirt and shorts. I was so traumatised by the day’s events I didn’t even think of arguing when she had me get into bed kissed me on the forehead and drew my bedroom curtains. I guess the day must have worn me out because I went straight to sleep despite it only being about seven thirty.
Sunday morning came around and mum woke me with a cup of tea. She opened my wardrobe and got some shorts a top and a pair of white ankle socks out for me to wear. The shorts were fire engine red and she said that they matched my red sandals. She told me to wash my hands a face and clean my teeth then get dressed while she made us breakfast.
I did as I was told and realised that these shorts like the others I had on yesterday would have to be pulled down for me to pee. Not because they were elastic waist ones, no the reason was that these were actually shortalls and they had no fly. I played by myself again all day in the back garden and in my bedroom secretly worrying about the following day and going to school in my new school uniform.
Monday morning came and I slowly got myself dressed. Mum had put my uniform out while I slept the night before. As I pulled on the shorts I realised that these had no fly either, and would have to pull down to pee. I wiped away a tear and stepped into my Clarks T-bar sandals. I did up the buckles and then looked at the nine year old looking back at me from the mirror on my wardrobe door. I picked up my blazer and cap and went down to breakfast.
Mum was pleased that I hadn’t argued and she told me that It had been a good thing that I hadn’t. She told me that ii I had argued this morning she would have made me wear my white schoolgirl socks and Mary-Jane shoes to school. It was raining that morning so after breakfast, mum had me put my sandals into my new satchel and wear my new wellies to school. As I listened she telephoned my form master and explained my situation to him and told him to make sure that I changed into my sandals once in class, so I knew there was no getting out of it. She helped me on with my raincoat and placed my cap on my head before giving me a peck on the cheek, and sending me out the front door to my fate.
I trudged through the rain towards my school highly conscious of what I was wearing and how I looked. Nobody paid the slightest attention to this little primary schoolboy making his way to school in his raincoat, school cap, junior style blue wellingtons that had a yellow splash protector around the top and the tops of his grey knee socks poking up above them. I knew however, that this would all change when I got to school.
Half a mile from the school I bumped into my friend Steven Jennings. He didn’t recognise me at first, but soon burst out laughing at my misfortune. When I burst into tears though, he stopped laughing. At first I was inconsolable, but eventually he calmed me down and even offered to take me back to his house and lend me some long trousers. I was so grateful for his offer, but was too scared to take him up on it and explained the reason why. He told me that he thought that it was a joke at first and that he expected my mum to let me off and allow me some long trousers and couldn’t believe it when I told him about the rest of my wardrobe. He actually started to feel sorry for me and promised he would stick by me, which was no small comfort.
When we got to the school, things were as bad as I’d expected. I was ribbed mercilessly and to be honest, just as much as I had ribbed young Paul Irvine in the year below me. I had to endure the taunts of most of the other kids in the school, but Steve was true to his word and stuck up for me. It only quietened down when we had to line up to go into our classes when there were a lot of teachers around. We filed into class after hanging up our top coats in the cloakroom. I got to my desk and sat down without changing my wellies, hoping that my form master, Mr. Waller, would not notice. That was a mistake that I only realised when he looked at me when he called my name out as he was taking the register. When I answered that I was present he looked up and asked if I had changed my wellies? Then after looking at my legs under my desk he said obviously not. He told me to change them and to put my wellies in the cloakroom and that he would wait for me to do so before carrying on with he morning register. So there I was the focus of everyone’s attention as I reluctantly took of my wellies. Tears pricked my eyes as a ripple of laughter went round as I took my Clarks t-bar sandals out of my satchel and put them on. I then had to walk out to the cloak room, with my wellies in my sandals to put them into the cloakroom. Mr Waller ordered quiet and carried on with the register when I got back.
Things were as bad when I got into the playground at break and then again at lunch. On the way home I had at least a dozen kids mocking me as Steve and I walked back to my house.
This was the lead up to and my first day at school in grey school shorts, but it was by no means the last. Things didn’t really get any better for me as the year wore on either as mum, who was Akela of the local cub-scouts pack, had me go with her on Wednesday evenings… in my new cub-scouts uniform because she felt I could no longer be trusted at home on my own.
I’d love to hear about others experiences so if you have some please post them for us all to read.