My Last Taste Of Tubby'S Cane. Part 1The longest term of the year for the 3rd Formers was the third or last term. After my experince with Sr Rita and her cane I thought it might of put a barrier between us but it did not. She regularly talked positively about the national competitions and our success but never mention the thrashing she dished out as a result of the incident at the social. Helen's monthly friend was late which caused her to worry but that finally arrived and all was good.
To appreciate the reason behind my last thrashing from Tubby an understanding of how the infirmary worked would help. The infirmary block was like a small hospital ward of ten beds. At the front was an office for Sister Rita (don't I remember my visit to that office!!!), a small office used by the Doctor, a treatment room where we examined and treated minor day to day ailments and injuries and a workroom/stores area. Through a double door was the main 'ward'. At the far end was a toilet block and quarters for a brother consisting of a toilet/shower area, a kitchenette and bed sit arrangement. I came to discover most dorms had a similar arrangement for the Brother who was responsible for the dorm. All the other brothers lived in a big house on the property. Normally a Brother lived there but for a variety of reasons this unit was vaccant this year.
If a boy was not going to class today he was taken to the infirmary where he stayed during the day. Staying in the dorm was not an option. Sometimes it was necessary to get the stretcher party to deliver them to th einfirmary. Sister Rita was generally there all day and if it was busy (say more than five boys in the infirmary) she had the help of a day boys mother who was a Registered Nurse and volunteered to assist. After class I (and sometimes Helen) would take over from the mother. Close to dorm lights out time the boys who were well enough would be sent back to their dorms.
Those boys who were to sick to return (infectous, likely to need help in the night) were left in the infirmary. If there was only one or two left (which was quite often) an extension phone was put by their cots and if they needed help he would ring the office and they would page me. If there was more than one or two or a night call was likely one of us (Sr Rita, Helen or myself) would sleep in the vaccant flat. I found this whole arrangement painful. I spent three night in the infirmary after I had my appendic out in term one. It was like prison.. lonely and the beds were uncomfortable. This was probably a good encouragement to get well.
In the third term a vommitting bug did the rounds of the school. (No it was not the food.) It related mainly to the fourth dorm and some fifth formers and lasted about three weeks. It was all on with investigations by the Health Department and taught me the value of handwashing. Sister Rita, Helen, Mrs Orange (the RN Volunteer) or myself never caught the bug despite our close contact with boys affected.
Between myself, Sister Rita and Helen there was always one of us at the infirmary outside of class hours and the Doctor visited in the morning and again after the evening meal every day for nearly three weeks. I am proud that in this time neither Helen or I missed a single class but we where certainly drained. Most night I slept in the flat and would have four or five wake up calls. Sr Rita and Helen did a few nights to give me a break and reported a similar number of wake up calls.
On the day of the thrashing offence I had decided to go to before dinner study because I had an assignment due in a couple of days time. I should have gone and had a sleep but hind sight is a great thing. In the study class I did go to sleep and started to snore. A prefect (who was a bit of a prat!!!) woke me up and gave me a detention for making a noise in study class. Several of the boys in the class knowing what was going on came to my defence and he gave them the same for questioning his authority. Well, when push came to shove I punched him twice and several others joined in. The rest egged us on and it was all over in 30 seconds before the duty Brother arrived.
I knew I had done wrong and was grateful for the support of my fellow students. We were all in the gun now and suspension was a real possibility.
I did not have time that night to worry about it but I do remember both Helen and Sr Rita saying I was off my game that night. Indeed they both offered to do the night shift and sleep in the flat but I declined their offer.
I did not have to wait long. The next day I recieved a message from Tubby's messanger to report ot his office during lunch break. I had no committments to the infirmary so I ate and went to the Discpiline Masters office. I thought I will get out of this somehow.. how wrong I was.
As I meet the other boys who had supported me outside his office I noticed the door was closed. When the door opened the pratt prefect came out and smiled at us and walked off without saying anything. Tubby called all five of us in together and said he was going to listen to our side of the story individually. He pointed out that the matter was serious as we had questioned the pratt's authority. He said every community which operated a punishment system had an associated appeal process and it did not involve thumbing the 'authority figure'. He did say it was a serious matter so I spoke up saying that my fellow students had only come to my defence. Tubby said he admired my honesty and understood my view point but every person was responsible for his own actions. Much to my surprise the others agreed with him. Tubby pulled a bag out and asked us to select a numbered marbel. I got number 4. Richard got number 1 and was asked to stay and the rest of us were asked to wait outside.
Waiting outside it seemed an age before we heard the swiss of a cane and the crack of cane on backside. Richard got five and when he appeared at the door he was pale, sweating, shirt tail hanging out and holding his clearly sore rear. Steve went in next. While we where waiting I apologized to Richard for getting him into this painful position. He said don't worry about it because what are friends for but he did say pratt had better watch himself. Steve got 5.
When it came my turn I went in and was invited to sit down. Tubby and I had what I now consider to be a civil discussion about the incident. Our discussion seemed to fly by but the guys outside said we had been talking for about 20 minutes. In summary Tubby said that he considered I had made two bad decisions. First I should have had a sleep rather than trying do the assignment and secondly to punch the prefect when given the detention rather than using the appeal process. He also said that he and the Principal acknowledge the work I had done in the infirmary over this difficult time and had it not been for that we would have all been suspended. He then said I was going to be caned to remind me that there are ways to question any prefect or teacher authority and the way I did it was not it.
"Standup and stand over there" Tubby said as he stood up and picked up the whippy cane from his desk. I went to the spot. "You have been here before so you know the routine, Bend over and touch your toes". he pulled my jersey up my back along with my shirt and singlet. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him stand to my left side almost at my head. I felt him take aim..swiss CRACK. For a few seconds I felt nothing but I knew it was coming. Then it arrived pain across the top third of my arse and round onto my right hip. I was about to take a breath when I heard swiss .. CRACK and it landed across the dead centre. I looked back to see whippy being raised high above Tubby's shoulder and being returned with force. Number three landed on the lower third and really hurt. By this stage I had tears in my eyes and the view of Tubby raising the cane above his shoulder again to inflect number 4 and more pain on my already sore rear was blurred. Swiss CRACK number 4 arrrived landing again on the lower third or basically the part of your bum you sit. It caught me off guard and guess what..... I jumped up and held my really sore rear.!!!!
"ops" said Tubby "that one will not count assume the position again"
I returned to the spot and assumed the position. As I did Tubby said " its not a good idea to look back". I am not sure I agree but I did not bother to look back for the final two. They were the worst basically delivered with force. The first one landing yet again on the part you sit on and second started on the top third on the left side of my arse and finished on my right thigh just covered by my very thin shorts.
After the last one was delivered Tubby said "thats it you can stand up now, no rubbing, waiting out there while I deal with your supporters then you can sign the punishment book". It was hard to standup and I was crying uncontrolably. Tubby put his cane on the desk and open the door. I walked out holding my arse because althought it was really painfully sore holding it seemed to support it. Tubby invited Merv in.
While we waited I made an attempt at drying my eyes with little effect and my mates attempted to reaasure me that although they had really painful and tanned rears it was not my fault and everything was OK. I certainly did not feel that way. My reaction to the six strokes of the cane was probably due to my lack of sleep but more importantly my decisions and following actions had got them into this very painful position. We counted as Merv got seven which did not help my state of mind. I must say Merv took the thrashing the best out of all of us.
After Merv's caning Tubby opened the door and we watched while he entered the punishment in the leather book. I noticed Merv had got 2 for failing to maintain position. My enteries were
XX/XX/68 Scully 3A Punching a prefect questioning authority 5
XX/XX/68 Scully 3A Failure to maintain position 1
Outside we all agreed shoke hands and agreed to meet later to compair each others damage. That afternoon was difficult and painful to sit in class. Everytime I moved the pain reminded me of the prefect pratt and tears welled up in my eyes.
There was some flow on effects that day from this thrashing but that is another story and I would encourage you to read it when it appears.