When I was growing up, our extended family was very close and I used to
spend a lot of time at my cousins’ house on the weekend. They only lived
about five miles from our place in an old rural part of Pennsylvania. My
father and uncle worked at a mill together as did a lot of people in those
days. My aunt was a nurse who worked part time at a small clinic in town.
At the time, Lynn, my favorite cousin was thirteen. She was cute, bordering
on beautiful, and kind of small and petite. She had long blond hair that
fell to the middle of her back. I was only a year older than she was so we
were always close. My other cousin was named Barb and she was always a brat,
at least it seemed like it at the time, but I think it was just that she was
two years younger than Lynn. She was just as tall as Lynn despite her
younger age, but a bit thinner.
One rainy summer day we were all playing Monopoly in Lynn’s bedroom. We had
the game spread out on the floor and I was taking great pleasure in taking
the girl’s money. The game was coming to an obvious conclusion and Lynn was
getting frustrated each time she landed on my properties. Finally she rolled
the dice and snake eyes put her right on Boardwalk after an expensive trip
“You stupid shithead!” she exclaimed as if it were my fault. I was surprised
to hear something like that coming from her mouth because that kind of
language would have gotten any one of us in deep trouble. Barb looked at her
like she had cursed the holy church and put her hand to her mouth in mock
despair. I grinned at her as she started to decide what properties she was
going to fork over.
At that moment Aunt Jenny walked into the room and stood in the doorway with
her arms folded across her chest. We didn’t know it, but she had been in the
next room folding clothes and obviously heard the remark. She didn’t say
anything for what seemed like forever. Lynn blushed a deep shade of red and
just looked away in embarrassment. Finally Aunt Jenny said, “What did you
“Uh…, Hi Mom. I didn’t mean to say anything. I was just kidding around,”
stammered Lynn. She certainly wasn’t going to lie to her mother since it was
obvious that she hard heard the remark.
“One more time young lady. What did you say to Tim?”
“I…, I can’t say it again, mother. Please…,” she said softly.
“Say it!” demanded Aunt Jenny.
Looking very forlorn, Lynn finally repeated the dreaded words. “I called him
a shithead. I’m really sorry!”
“Do you know what that particular word refers to?” asked my aunt.
“I…, I don’t know.”
“Of course you do, Lynn. It refers to a BM. Feces. Stool. Now tell me, does
that describe Tim’s head?”
“It’s just an expression. Of course it doesn’t describe him. I said I didn’t
mean it. Please, mother, I’m sorry!”
“Well Lynn, I think you kids need to put the game away. We just won’t have
that kind of talk in this house. I’m sorry, but I have no choice but to give
you a PE.”
“No Mom! Please! I said I was sorry!”
“I’m afraid you’re going to be quite a bit sorrier,” she said and walked
down the hall.
I had no idea what was going to happen to my poor cousin, but it must be
pretty bad because she was on the verge of tears. “What’s a PE?” I asked.
Lynn couldn’t answer but Barb chimed right up and said, “Punishment enema.
Lynn’s gonna get an enema!”
My heart started beating pretty hard at the words. I knew what an enema was
although I’d never had one. I’d certainly never heard of one being given as
a punishment. When I was young and got in trouble, my Dad just took me to my
room and used his belt on my bare butt. I guess I never thought too much
about how my cousins were punished.