MRS. HANSEN’S BOARDING HOUSE
The first thing that struck James about Mrs. Greta Hansen was the fact that she seemed so formidable. Tall and solid with blonde hair in a bun, a round face and hard grey eyes, she looked like some Midwest farmer’s wife capable of everything from plowing fields to hauling water to chopping wood. With her imposing bust, wide hips and stout legs, James could also imagine her as a Valkyrie warrior in some German opera wearing one of those horned helmets.
Then there was her cousin, Mrs. Ida Reed, who also lived at the house and did most of the cooking. James viewed Mrs. Reed as a bit younger, thinner, and so voluptuous that the challenge for James was to avoid staring at her rather prominent and upstanding breasts. Like an aging movie star in her 40’s, she had the look of a woman who must have been a knockout in her day, but age had diminished that ingénue look somewhat. A dark haired woman with a thin face, she was still attractive. Her build was tall and rangy, as if there were some power coiled there like a spring. Together the pair exuded a no nonsense air of total feminine authority. James found them both intimidating.
James had been directed to Mrs. Hansen’s boarding house by his mother, who had arranged for him to live there while at college. James’ mother had insisted on the Hansen house, and in James’ household, mother’s word was law. What James had really wanted was to be out from under his mother’s thumb, finally. He thought that leaving home for college would do that, and he had wanted to live in a dormitory with other boys his own age. His mother would not hear of it.
“In one of those filthy dormitories? I won’t permit it. It’s all arranged, James. I have spoken to Mrs. Hansen and I must say I am impressed. She runs a tight ship.” Then she had put her arm around her son’s shoulders. “It won’t be so bad, James. Why, I know that a former classmate of yours, Fran Blackman will be living there too. Mrs. Hansen takes in both boys and girls.”
James knew Fran Blackman, a cute girl from his high school. He hadn’t known her well. Enough to say hello in the hall, but that was about it. He had, from somewhere, heard that her parents were strict. Just like his own parents. That maybe explained why she had ended up at this Mrs. Hansen’s house. So James was resigned. But after a quarter of community college and having to stay at home, James was ready to leave. He’d been accepted at State University and would arrive for the start of the second quarter.
So on the appointed day he had packed his things for the drive to the quaint college town in which State University was located. He and his mother had an appointment with Mrs. Greta Hansen.
She sat across from James and his mother in her parlor, sitting stiffly upright in an old chair. Mrs. Reed sat next to the pair who were relegated to an uncomfortable looking loveseat. Between them was a tea set. She had insisted that they have tea. So he sipped tea politely while she alternately grilled him and dictated the rules of her house. They included no drinking, be in by curfew (which SHE would establish), no guests in rooms, no smoking, no swearing, and absolutely no going into the girls’ quarters. The girls and boys rooms were separated—the girls were upstairs on the second floor and the two boys’ rooms were on the third floor. Then there were chores. These would be distributed fairly but everyone would be required to share. Rooms tidy at all times.
James’ mother nodded with approval at all of this. “I think you will find, Mrs. Hansen, that James is a very obedient and well behaved boy. I’m sure he will study hard and be no trouble. Isn’t that right James?”
James blushed. They were talking about him as if he were some little kid, but he knew the consequences of rude behavior so he merely said, “Yes, ma’am,” and averted his eyes from Mrs. Hansen’s penetrating gaze.
“And one more thing, young man” she said.
He’d been about to stand up and leave, thankful that she was finally winding down. How much more? He’d been asking himself if it was going to be worth it.
“On Sunday evenings there will be Sunday supper at 6 O’clock sharp followed by the weekly reckoning. Everyone must attend. No exceptions.”
James was puzzled. “A reckoning?”
“To go over the week and see how everyone behaved. I keep very close tabs on my boarders, James, and every week we must settle accounts.”
James could not fathom what she was talking about, so he shrugged and said, “Yes, ma’am.”
“What do you think, Mrs. Reed?” she asked, turning to her cousin.
Ida Reed narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. “He seems like a nice boy. If he can obey the rules, we should all be fine.”
That look gave James the chills. Like cat sizing up a mouse. Who was this Mrs. Reed? A relative, really? An old friend? The relationship between the two was odd. They never called each other by their first names, but there seemed to be some unspoken bond between them, some shared secret. He was dismissed while his mother and Mrs. Hansen continued to chat.
Outside the parlor he ran into Fran Blackman who had returned from class. James explained that he was starting late and would make up the first quarter in the Summer if his credits did not all transfer.
Fran liked the idea of having James in the house. First, he was cute and that was nice. Second, she figured a boy might take some of the heat of Mrs. Hansen’ scrutiny off of the rest of them. Fran and the others had been appalled to discover how Mrs. Hansen enforced her edicts. It had been an extension of Fran’s own strict Christian household. She’d thought she’d outgrown the need for such childish discipline, but her parents had insisted she live here. She later discovered that Mrs. Hansen was of the same fundamental denomination as her parents, and they shared with each other their views on the appropriate discipline of children. It was on this basis that the Blackman’s had placed Fran in Mrs. Hansen’s house. But it galled her that they still thought of her as a child. She consoled herself with the knowledge that the sorority houses on campus used some of the same methods.
Her own experience throughout childhood had been that her parents did, on occasion, spank. She recalled with embarrassment the trips upstairs to her mother’s bedroom. The humiliation of being put across her mother’s knee for a painful spanking with her sturdy palm or later, the back of her flat-backed wooden hairbrush. The feeling of being so helpless while her mother had spanked a painful tattoo on her bare bottom. The wriggling. The crying. The admonishments to stay in place while hand or brush imparted its painful lesson. And even worse were those incidents, thankfully rare, in which she had endured a strapping with her father’s belt while bent over the end of her bed.
But she downplayed this aspect of the house in her conversation with James. “She tends to mother her student boarders. But she is really old fashioned, and strict.” Then she added, “which is ok if you follow her rules. You have to pitch in with chores and you also have to keep your grades up. She’s a bit odd that way. She monitors your report cards. And there are her rules—she’s very strict about that.” James noticed she shook her head with a slight grimace at that last part. He thought maybe Fran was holding something back, something she didn’t want to share, but he dismissed it.
James asked, “How many students stay here now?”
Five, she had told him. Four girls and now you.
James’ mother, having finished with Mrs. Hansen, said her goodbyes to James and drove away. James moved his things into the third floor room. That evening he was introduced to the others around the supper table. There was Molly, Betty and Lisa, all attractive girls. James’ mood improved. This could be interesting, he thought, sharing living quarters with four other pretty girls.
He registered and classes began. The first week was uneventful.
Sunday afternoon at the library James by chance happened upon Molly and Lisa engaged in what appeared to be a serious conversation. He thought he heard Lisa say ‘I saw it on the board. You did have four. She knew you missed curfew.’ And Molly said, ‘how could she know? Her lights were off. I went out to meet Doug after she’d gone to bed.’ Lisa shrugged. Molly took a deep breath, a worried look on her face.
“What’s up, girls?” said James. The girls’ faces brightened. James was nice to have in the house. He was a good looking guy, even if Fran had said hands off. But Lisa was thinking all’s fair in love and war, girl.
“I couldn’t help but hear---four what? Did you sneak out?” He was laughing.
“Molly did, and now she’s in trouble with Mrs. Hansen. I think Betty has demerits too. Her room is a mess. It could be a hot time after supper tonight,” said Lisa with a knowing smile.
“Hot time? What are you talking about?”
Lisa stared at James, her jaw dropped wide open. “You mean Fran didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“The way Mrs. Hansen and Mrs. Reed enforce the rules.”
“No. What does she do?”
Lisa’s face turned pale. She licked her lips. “Did you know that she was at one time a bible school teacher?”
James shook his head.
“She was. And thinks that we should be treated just like her bible school kids back then. So she has this paddle and when you get demerits, it’s over you go. Grab your knees, hold still-- and then you get it.” Then she added, “ask poor Betty who’s in for it tonight.”
James stared in stunned silence. What? Impossible!
“I see you don’t believe me. But you will. Wait and see. Her and that Mrs. Reed. Tonight. She calls everyone into the library and if you have demerits it’s licks with her paddle. If you don’t like it, you can move out. And that’s not all,” Lisa said.
James leaned in to hear better. Lisa blushed. “If you do something she considers sinful, like sneaking out or smoking or swearing, she’s threatened to punish that person in a special way—in private. And that’s why Molly is so worried,” she said, casting an eye at Molly who blushed.
James could not believe it. Paddled? That’s what happened if you misbehaved? But he was practically an adult. But he was stuck. Mother and father paying his way to college meant living by rules they set and living at Mrs. Hansen’s was one of them. The thought was unnerving, not only because she was a complete stranger but because of the authoritarian demeanor she and her friend carried about. And both were well built women, ‘stacked’ as his friends always said when referring to women with large breasts and curvy hips. The idea of being disciplined in that way by those women gave him a woody. It shouldn’t have, but it did, and that was strangely disturbing.
Like many of his generation, he’d been subject to spankings even through his teen years. His mom’s hairbrush, his dad’s belt. They had come out for sass, for poor grades and of course for downright disobedience. Although to his relief his mom had not spanked him since he was twelve. It had been his dad who had meted out the discipline. So the thought that once again a woman would have to power to punish him in that childish way was frightening and embarrassing.
So James was on high alert at the formal sit down supper on Sunday at 5:30. Molly toyed with her food. Betty, a pretty honey haired blonde, looked nervous and said little. Mrs. Reed served the food then sat down next to Greta Hansen at the head of the table.
“It is so nice to have a young man in the house, isn’t Mrs. Reed?” said Mrs. Hansen, trying to make conversation.
“Yes, it is. And such a handsome one, too,” said Mrs. Reed with a smile that seemed to James as almost predatory.
The girls said little as supper progressed, and James assumed that their nervousness was related to the ‘reckoning,’ as Mrs. Hansen had put it.
At supper’s end Mrs. Hansen announced that they would all retire to the library. The girls shoved back their chairs and without a word took their plates into the kitchen then headed for the library.
“You too, James. The library, please,” said Mrs. Hansen pointing.
“Yes, ma’am.” James followed the girls. This was it. Now he would see the infamous Sunday night reckoning.
They had seated themselves on either the loveseat or the straight backed uncomfortable chairs placed along the rear wall. The room was large. Books lined shelves that went all the way to the ceiling and all around the room. It was dead still. The books seemed to muffle any sound. No one said anything. The air was electric. Mrs. Hansen came in, followed by Mrs. Reed. James sucked in a breath. Mrs. Reed carried a paddle. It was oval, about a foot long, four inches wide and maybe a little short of an inch thick.
Mrs. Hansen stood in front of the hearth. “Now girls. We begin. This week, Betty, your room was not well kept. As I have told you before, cleanliness is next to Godliness. This will not do. Four demerits, I’m afraid.”
Betty bit her lower lip.
“Stand up and come here, Betty.”
Betty stood and approached Mrs. Hansen. She was a pretty girl, medium height, short blonde hair in a pageboy style.
“Lift your skirt, turn around and bend over, Betty. Hands on your knees.”
Betty fidgeted. “But, ma’am, Mrs. Hansen, please. James is here. He’ll see my panties.”
“And you will no doubt see his when he is to be punished. Now lift your skirt and bend over. Everyone must witness the consequences of not following the rules.”
There was a collective gasp as the other three realized that James would be witness to this humiliation. James tried not to stare as Betty lifted her skirt, revealing an attractive bottom clad in white cotton panties. She gathered her skirt and bent over, gripping her knees, her flared skirt held at the small of her back. Now that pretty bottom bulged out like a pair of ripe melons.
Mrs. Reed proffered the paddle to Mrs. Hansen who took it and stood to Betty’s right. She tapped Betty’s bottom a time or two and Betty flinched.
“Remember to hold your position, Betty,” said Mrs. Hansen. “If you get up, that one won’t count.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Betty in a choked voice. Her knees were knocking.
Mrs. Hansen drew back the paddle and brought it down in a flat arc. There was a sharp crack! as it struck the crowns of Betty’s buttocks.
“Oww!” wailed Betty. Her body jerked with the impact.
Three more times the paddle smacked Betty’s bottom, eliciting cries of “ouch!” and the shuffling of feet. Mrs. Hansen took her time, allowing ten seconds or so between swats so that a trembling Betty could reposition herself.
“Thrust your bottom out, Betty,” said Mrs. Hansen at one time. “Let’s have that naughty girl seat prominently positioned for my paddle.” James thought she said it almost gleefully. Mrs. Reed watched with rapt attention, her eyes excited, her chest heaving. Betty groaned and stuck her bottom back out to await another painful swat.
James took it all in, the whoosh and crack of the paddle, Betty’s jerk at impact, the way her flesh seemed to flatten then spring back. He realized that he was hard and his penis was poking through his pants like a tent pole. He fervently hoped no one noticed.
When the four swats had been doled out Betty was allowed to stand.
“Now let that be a lesson to you, Betty,” she said, handing the paddle back to Mrs. Reed. “You are all now dismissed.” They started to leave—“except for you, Molly.”
Molly stood stock still. Mrs. Hansen fixed her with a steely gaze. “Molly, you will come with me. We have something to discuss.”
Molly looked stricken, but after casting a worried look at her friends she followed Mrs. Hansen out the door and down the hallway toward her quarters.
“What is that all about?” asked James to no one in particular.
Lisa spoke up. “It’s what she warned us about, I’m afraid.”
“Molly stayed out after curfew and Mrs. Hansen caught her. She warned us that certain offenses would be dealt with more harshly, as she put it.” She looked down the hall. “I’m afraid for Molly. She’s the first one of us to be caught doing something like that.”
They stood there in silence straining to hear. From down the hall came the faint sound of slapping, at a measured cadence. It went on for quite some time, at least a full two minutes. From behind the door they could hear muffled crying.
“It was awful,” sobbed Molly, snuffling. She lay on the bed, head in her hands. She was in PJ’s which were, at the time, pulled down to her thighs. Lisa rubbed cold cream into the flesh of a very red and very swollen bottom.
It was a big house with meandering corridors. The girls lived in rooms on the second floor in a wing apart from the quarters of Mrs. Hansen and Mrs. Reed. That is why James took the chance. He wanted to hear what had happened. So he carefully snuck downstairs from his third floor room and positioned himself outside Molly’s door.
“I had to follow her to her room,” said Molly. “She sat on this flat bench at the foot of her bed and made me stand in front of her while she lectured me all about sin and how I could get into trouble and such. She caught me coming in late and made be confess that it was to see a boy. I don’t know what’s so wrong with that, but she thinks it’s terrible. After that she gave me this horrible scolding. Then—oh it was so awful-- she told me to take off everything but my underwear.”
“Oh my gosh!” said Lisa. “Did you?”
“What could I do?” said Molly. “If she kicks me out I’d be disgraced. My mom, my dad—they’d be mortified.”
“So what happened next?” said Fran.
“I stripped down with her and Mrs. Reed watching. That woman gives me the creeps. I was standing there in my bra and panties and that’s all. Then Mrs. Hansen picked up this big hairbrush and waved it at me. She said that there was a sure cure for a delinquent girl who would disobey her rules, and that cure was a sound spanking. And I just froze. A spanking! For me. I’m nineteen years old. I mean the paddlings are bad enough, but at least they do that in the sororities, so we are no worse off than those girls. But a spanking!
“Anyway, she made me get over her lap like I was ten years old. It was so humiliating. Then, worst of all—she slid down my panties to my knees. She said I was going to get it on the bare. And there I was, over her knees, my bare bottom sticking up, ready to get it.”
James could not believe his ears. A spanking! And on her bare bottom. He resisted the urge to stroke himself even though his penis was hard from imagining Molly across Mrs. Hansen’s lap, bottom bare, poised to take her spanking.
“Then did I ever get it! She started to spank with that big hairbrush and believe me, that thing stung like crazy. Each smack felt like a hot iron pressed onto my bottom. She paddled my poor fanny up one side and down the other until I was bawling—well you probably heard. It was like a fire lit on my backside. She spanked from side to side and all over. I thought I was being skinned alive. At one point she stopped and told me to stop wriggling so much, but I was in tears and couldn’t help it. It was the most awful thing-- it just went on and on. Finally, she made me count ten slow stingers for her and say I was sorry after each one. I broke down completely. It was the most humiliating thing ever.”
“Gosh Molly, that’s awful,” said Fran. But she could sympathize. She’d got the same treatment as a teenager at home sometimes.
James figured he’d stayed long enough. He turned to slip back upstairs to his own room. He turned the corner at the end of the hall—and ran straight into Ida Reed.