“Have you ever wondered what life was like when corporal punishment was an accepted form of discipline … in a classroom?” (from the FetLife event description).
“Master Cane Maker Michael Lewis was brought up in England. He was first caned at the age of six, by his kindergarten school headmistress. To his surprise, he was not upset with the caning at all! This led to his love of the cane, a solid thrashing and good old-fashioned discipline. From his love and desire to be caned, he has produced the Rolls Royce of all canes. Michael retired from cane making at 91 years young. He received his Seventh Degree Black Belt at the age of 87 and is still an avid ballroom dancer and teaches self defense! Michael is 93 years young and still taking a solid thrashing!”
Mistress Nona, supervisor of academics and the curator of the Iron Bell Academy, started her relationship with the Master Cane Maker 20 years ago, and she served as his disciplinarian for 15 years when he would make visits to the United States. Mistress Nona almost exclusively uses canes made by Mr. Lewis. I’ve had them used on me, and they are indeed very good canes, and last for years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Lewis twice before when he and Mistress Nona gave presentations about caning at Paddles NYC. I was fascinated by his story and wanted to hear more, so I signed up for the class at Iron Bell. I was glad I did, because Mr. Lewis told details of his life that he’d left out (or maybe I’d missed) the last two times.
He was first caned in kindergarten for taking a penknife to school. To his surprise, the experience did not scare him, but instead created an urge that he sought to relieve for the rest of his life. Luckily, as caning was a regular part of discipline in both private and public schools in the UK, his craving was satisfied quite often, by teachers, headmistresses and headmasters who were quite willing to administer the canings–whether a child had earned them or not.
Mr. Lewis described his first headmistress as a woman who “was able to combine affection for the children with correct discipline.” Later, when he started prep school, the assistant headmistress had three canes kept prominently on display behind her desk. “It intrigued me,” he said. “Then started a series of canings for no good reason.”
He related a story about a public school teacher who punished him for humming in class. He got three strokes, but rolled his eyes heading back to his school desk. “The teacher said, ‘Did you make a grimace?'” Mr. Lewis was called back to the front to receive another three strokes. Unintentionally, he made another face on his second approach to his desk, and was called back again, this time for six strokes. This was just the beginning of the relationship, Mr. Lewis reported with a big smile.
To add to his pain/pleasure, his stepmother would always spank or cane him later after finding out he’d been punished at school.
Delving deeper into his background and a bit of psychology, Mr. Lewis said he felt the punishments, both in school and from his stepmother, were a replacement for a mother’s love. His stepmother, he felt, was capable of giving affection but not real love.
At the same time, England had just gotten involved in World War II, barely 20 years after the horrors of the first World War. The canings helped create a bond between himself and his stepmother during this scary period (he was around 19 years old when it started).
On a larger scale, it helped to ease the pain of the war, he said. “Caning was nothing compared to what was going on around us.” Mr. Lewis acknowledged that his love for caning was not normal (he referred to it as an aberration), but he said he was by no means the only schoolboy who formed a relationship with those who caned him.
He is hoping to write a book about his life and I am looking forward to learning much more about this period. I was very glad to have had the opportunity to see Mr. Lewis again.