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Eros:Confessions and Experiences
Extracts from a Disciplined Childhood
by Edith Cadivec
In school I was inattentive, I daydreamed, and took little joy in planned learning. However, because Gabrielle's industriousness and irreproachable conduct in school exceeded all expectations, father looked proudly into the future of his true daughter. He began to teach her Latin and French, while I was allowed only to listen to the lessons and not to participate.
At that time I showed little interest in subjects that could not prove their usefulness through practical application. I liked much better to concern myself with the active life around me. I took a lively interest in my schoolmates, the members of their families, and their way of life. I never neglected to ask my school comrades about their parents and brothers and sisters, about the sternness or tenderness in the family, in order to ferret out whether they were punished for certain types of misbehaviour and in which way this punishment was administered, whether they loved their father or mother more, or whether they themselves were favoured or punished by the father or mother. These were the favourite questions that I asked of every child. And my thirst for such knowledge was always satisfied.
Gabrielle found less sympathy among her classmates; she was not interesting enough and her exemplary goodness bored most of them. Moreover, Ella spent little time with children, preferring adults. I was overtly "bad" but guileless, and sympathetic to the fate of others, hearts flew toward me although I was not especially charming. I was never evil and never malicious. The leitmotif of my behaviour lay in the injunction - love thy neighbour as thyself. That was practical reason.
At home there was a lively traffic of families with whom my parents were friends and they often came to visit us with their children. But especially, the reciprocal invitations among school friends often gave me an opportunity to practice my inclinations. Gabrielle felt best when she was near father. I, however, ran around with children of my own age, or younger, and even with small tots whom I directed at my pleasure and ruled over.
always chose my favourite game in such a way that a dominating role fell to me. The mother-and-child game was very popular as long as I could be the mother and play this role even from the birth of a child onward. I padded my breasts and belly, got sick as the situation called for, and finally let the child be cut from my body. It was always a doll swathed in the cloth forming the padding on my belly and which was removed at birth. I let the newborn infant suckle at my breast. Suddenly the child was big, the doll was replaced by a playmate who thereafter was made to feel all my maternal sternness. This game ended with a quarrel and disagreement between "mother" and "child," and it met with scant approval from the rest of our playmates.
Even playing school was a source of pleasure for me as long as I could play the strict, pitiless woman teacher draconically swinging the cane over her pupils. But this game too never lasted long because the ill-treated "pupils" soon ran away from it in tears, declaring that they no longer wanted to join in the game because the "teacher" really and soundly whacked them.
After such failures I would immediately propose another game of which I was equally fond: doctor and patient! I always wanted to be the doctor, another girl played the mother who brought her sick child to me. My chief pleasure in my role as doctor lay in thoroughly examining the body of the "patient," where I always concerned myself-at length and thoroughly-with the most private parts of the body. In this way I acquired an extraordinary knowledge of the anatomy of female and male genitalia and satisfied my secret longing to see, to touch and, at times, also to pinch the stark-naked bottoms of boys and girls. Everything transpired in full secrecy and no child was allowed to betray anything of the examination. But this game likewise ended with the refusal of the "patients" to accommodate the "doctor" because "he" hurt them by subjecting them to small tortures.
From the age of eight to ten I was often invited to the homes of my girl friends. To be sure, we harmonized well hut quarrels were nevertheless unavoidable. We disagreed, quarrelled, and after scuffling in such a way that it was no longer possible to determine who originally had been at fault, we complained to the mother of the house. She would rush over to us and first of all ask about the cause and the originator of the quarrel. As the guest I felt secure against any insult and boldly complained about the quarrelsomeness of the other children. I accused them of so many bad things the mother, angered and excited by my charges, without further ado would belabour the rudely bared bottom of her offspring with a birch rod, a cane, or the flat of her hand before all those present.
The ear-piercing screams and the struggling of the girl or boy being punished, the stark-naked bottom, glowing red and flashing under the stern mother's hissing birch, the fascinating power of the punisher, all this taken together had a wholly irresistible effect on the children. They were, of course, afraid of beatings but the spectacle of someone else receiving a thrashing was a prickling stimulant and constant attraction to them.
I myself stood rigid, as though hypnotized by the suggestive event; I was fascinated and incapable of moving, shaken and overcome by the tremendous impact that the maternal punishment had exerted on me. I preserved the image in my fantasy, my mind was in a tumult I could hardly understand myself. Full of admiration, I glared at the stern mother; passionately I wished that I were in the place of the child being punished! At the same time there arose in my consciousness the remembrance of my own mother whose body scent and warmth formerly had so intoxicated me.
And at night in bed I imagined again the event that had so shaken me during the day. In my fantasy I was the mother of the naughty girl who had been birched because of her bad behaviour. I relived the whole procedure of the shameful punishment. I saw myself as a stern mother, I guided my hands under the child's clothes, unbuttoned her drawers, pulled them down, stretched the bitterly weeping girl across my lap, bared her whole bottom, grabbed the birch and belaboured the bottom with slanting blows until the skin burned. The more the girl showed her fear and resisted, the more she wailed and screamed, the more her naked bottom glowed and smarted, all the more sharply and searingly did the stinging blows of my birch fall, all the more did her shrill and piercing screams sound like lovely music in my ears. I became hotter and hotter with such fantasies, a wondrous thrill of voluptuary pleasure shot through my body. I understood that an inner relationship existed between the birching of a naked bottom and the prickling feeling of happiness that suffused my soul.
Toward a smaller child I liked to feel like a mother to whom it is handed over against its will. I also wanted to have such unlimited control over a child. Sometimes it happened that a child was naughty; I immediately led it to its mother and complained about its naughtiness. Back then every angered mother would soundly thwack her tot's bottom without standing on ceremony. I wanted to bring about these thwackings, it gratified me when they happened, and the punished child broke into a wild scream- not so much, of course, because of the thwackings but out of shame that it had to submit its bare bottom for such punishment.
I would feel myself drawn to this mother admiringly. I would nestle against her, sensing what she experienced when she made her offspring feel the weight of her absolute maternal authority. How beautiful the mother-child relationship in which one, in childlike trust, felt secure and sheltered and looked up in reverential love to the person held in respect, embodied by the stern mother!
My mother died when I was nine years old. She had been mentally deranged many months before her life was fully extinguished by a heart attack after years of invalidism. Her death was beyond my comprehension. I cried night and day without knowing why. The whole house seemed to me to be shrouded in sadness, useless and desolate. I did not want to remain in it any longer without mother.
Father and Gabrielle coolly and rationally made all the necessary arrangements after mother's death. They did not weep but showed their everyday faces and it seemed to me as if they viewed the death of this poor invalid as a wished-for deliverance. Nevertheless, it was a hard blow to all of us.
My father's sister, Aunt Regina, the widow of a district judge who had died early, came over to the house after my mother died, as she had so often done before, in order to see that everything was all right. The household was greatly neglected, the wardrobe of the children was in a bad way, and our upbringing left much to be desired. This time Aunt Regina remained several months with us, more for her brother's sake than for that of her motherless nieces. She found us not at all properly brought up and worthy of love as her own son Peter, who was already grown up. Auntie, however, could not cope with the task of running her brother's household permanently and she soon returned to the loneliness and peace of her widow's residence. This certainly was the reason why father decided to marry for the second time only one year after mother's death.