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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


People are usually interested in finding out more about Vaucluse, the Jacob Yoder residence that sits on a hillside at Yoder-Tipton Road and KY 55-155 just northeast of Taylorsville. There's a Historical Highway Marker on the east side of the road that briefly tells the story of Yoder and the house that became known as "Vaucluse" (VOW'-cluze), named for a wine-growing region of France.

As the years rolled by, Vaucluse became the home of the Knox Brown family. The children were Mary Jane and Joe. It was this incredible lineage that got me my first, and I believe only, spanking in school. I believe it was the third grade and I sat behind Joe Brown, who, like all great students, had a front-row seat.


I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when Joe turns around with a little smirk on his face and swishes with his pencil on my paper _ you know, just marking it up. I was stunned because that kind of senseless prank did not fit Joe's psychological profile. As I sat there, wondering whether to respond, the words, "Ah, what the heck ..." formed in my sub conscious. So, I stabbed Joe in the back with my pencil.

Well, you'd have thought I did something terrible as Joe squalled like a plucked chicken. The teacher ran to him. "What's wrong Joe?" she said. "He stabbed me in the back," Joe responded in a tearful (he was faking) voice, making an effort to point out the wound to the teacher.

Obviously, I was interested in seeing what damage had been done, so the teacher and I were leaning forward, searching Joe's back for the point of entry.

"It looks as if the point broke off, but I don't see anything that would require immediate medical attention," I was hopeful the teacher would say, but that wasn't what she said.

Looking at me, she said: "You're going to get a spanking!"

Lord, have mercy! I was a spoiled kid. I'd never had a spanking in my life. What did this mean? Would she pound my behind with a two-by-four?

"But he messed up my paper," I said, attempting to get my defense started, and showed her exhibit "A," the marked up sheet of paper. She seemed interested, so I pressed forward like any sly defense attorney would do. "It was my work," I pleaded. "He turned around and for no reason, messed up my paper."

"I don't care what he did," she said, in a motion over-ruled tone, you're getting a spanking.

That's when it felt like the blood was racing out of my body, with a general weakness and light-headedness setting in. Should I feign a stroke? Should I run for it? The options didn't seem workable and a guilty plea wasn't going to get me a deal because she already believed Joe and there was that tiny little spot where the lead broke off. It didn't even draw blood!

Then came the comment that was akin to the warden asking if I wanted a final smoke before being led to the gas chamber.

"Your classmates have gone for their restroom break. Do you want the spanking now, or when they get back?" What an easy decision! I didn't want the whole class looking on like the family audience behind the glass at an execution. "I'll have it now," I believe I said.

It was embarrassing enough when she said. "Here, lie across my lap." Good gosh woman, how do I do that. Do I get a running start and jump up there? Didn't matter, before I knew what was happening she had me over her knees and was pounding my buttocks with a wooden ruler. But you know what, it didn't hurt.

As I staggered back to my seat, trying to look like Joe Frazier after he was mopped up by Muhammad Ali, there was that smirk again, and I was ready for round two. But, I sat quietly and didn't even respond when he smiled at me, although visions of a sledge hammer raced through my not-as-smart-as-Joe head.

Joe went on to become a federal prosecutor. Good thing I was Mister Cool.

But that isn't history. Next week, how Liberty Hall in Frankfort and Vaucluse are related and how Joe and Mary Jane had an incredible family lineage.


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