Life in the 50s, for teens, differs vastly from today.

Supper with Sandra

by Robt. Emmett ©2021

[999 words]

It’s my birthday. That day turned bad early in my life. How bad you wonder? Let me tell you.

I’d just turned three when the rail yard cop caught us.

On my fourth birthday, I fell, knocking out both front baby teeth.

On the fifth one, I got a lit cigarette in my right eye. No permanent damage.

On the sixth or seventh, Sparky, my dog, was killed.

A car ran over my bike on my eighth birthday.

On my tenth, I opened the rear suicide door of Dad’s new 1948 Dodge, and was thrown into a ditch.

I broke Mom’s swan vase on number ten.

Next year, I broke my arm.

Twelfth… an appendectomy with complications.

Thirteenth, back in the hospital… I had my tonsils removed.

Today, my fourteenth, so far, a trip to the emergency room. A dog bit me on my butt, and it wasn’t noon. I had a feeling the bad hadn’t happened… yet. Mother had decided to have supper at the Bagley’s. They are pleasant people. Mom and Lulu owned the poshest beauty salon in town. Dad and Porter had been the best of friends since elementary school. Their daughter Sandra and I were born on the same day, one year apart. Tonight was our birthday party. In truth, I’d rather eat a meal with anyone else.

The parents assumed we would grow up and be interested in each other. At fourteen, I not only didn’t care for Sandra, but girls in general. She may have felt different. She was intelligent, the top in her class. I wasn’t. She played the piano well and had the trophies to prove it. I played the radio. She was nice looking, with long blond hair. I wasn’t interested.


The radio quietly played forties dance music in the candle-lit alcove next to the kitchen. A small window looked out on the moonlit lake. The maid finished serving, closed the door, and left us alone. We made small talk as we ate. Sandra swallowed the last of her meal, set her napkin on the table, and stared at me without saying a word.

“What?” I asked.

Folding her arm, “I want to have sex… with you.”

I coughed. Clearing my throat, I gasped, “You what?”

She slipped from her stool, placed her hands firmly on my shoulders, “You heard me.”

“I heard you, but….” Her hands pulled my face to hers. Our lips met.

“Dessert,” the maid said.

Wet exploded from my armpits.

Placing the birthday cake with fancy frosting and candles on the table, she smiled at Sandra. “Happy birthday.” Her eyes sliced and diced me. She left with the dirty dinner dishes.

“You blush easily, don’t you, Robin?” Sandra chided, returning to her seat.

I was embarrassed, I was speechless, and I was dumbfounded, but I would get even.

Pulling the blue candles from my piece of cake, I counted them. The count was correct. Sandra removed the pink ones from her cake. I watched her, and I counted. Again, the number is right. As always, hers was one less than mine was. I flashed my best smile. “Happy birthday Sandra. How does it feel to me a year older?”

“And happy birthday to you, Robin. Ah, no big deal.”

She sampled the cake, “It’s yummy.” She finished, “I don’t see the big deal about sex.”

I couldn’t trust my gut to eat the cake.

“If you’re not going to eat your cake, can I have it?”

I nodded. “Shure!” I smeared my piece of cake onto her face. It felt good. So I scrubbed the frosting through her hair.

Sandra got away with kissing me. I remembered the story. The younger child hits an older sibling, then the older hits the younger, and who gets caught?

As I wiped the frosting from my fingers, the maid returned. She yelped. Moments later, both sets of parents had crowded around us.

My wonderful cake!” Lulu shrieked. Both fathers grinned behind their hands.

Her finger in Dad’s face, Mom shouted, “When we get him home, you’re going to give that son of yours the whipping of his life! You got that?”

We all went into the living room, except Sandra. She wailed as she stomped upstairs to wash her ruined hair. I was not listening to the parents’ chatter. They ignored me, except Mom. She said I utterly mortified her. Sandra came down and sat between her parents and sniffled to get attention. When she thought no one was looking, she’d stick the tip of her tongue out at me. At other times, she would give me that ‘you’re going to get a whipping’ grin, then giggle behind her hands. Occasionally, to ensure she got attention, Sandra would hold out the ends of her blond hair and whimper.

I sat still. I knew very soon my butt would be stinging. And tomorrow I would stand at the kitchen counter to eat breakfast. I had felt Dad’s wide leather belt before. My whippings were rare enough to not have calluses. But three were enough to last me a lifetime.

As we left to go home, I dove into the rear seat of Dad’s car. I did not want to sit between my parents. The short drive to our house was ominously silent. Going up the front steps, Mom reminded Dad of what I was due. He marched me straight through the house and out the back door to the garage.

He flicked on the overhead light, and I saw the grin on his face. It puzzled me. He gathered up rags and placed them in a pile on the workbench. Now, I was really confused.

“When I slap the rags, with this lath, you howl. Okay?”

Back in the house, I listened at my bedroom door. I couldn’t hear all of their conversation, just Mom’s side. She suggested he was a little too heavy-handed, “… poor thing,… too many,… you shouldn’t….”

It was my last whipping.

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