This Boy’s Life: A Memoir

Wolff, Tobias

Grove, 1989

p. 59

The narrator speaks of his maternal grandfather (“Daddy”) and of how he treated the narrator’s mother: “Daddy was a great believer in the rod.  When my mother was still in her cradle he slapped her for sucking her thumb.  To correct he toddler’s habit of walking with her toes turned slightly inward he forced her to walk with her toes turned out, like a duck.  Once she started school, Daddy spanked her every night on the theory that she must have done something wrong that day whether he knew about it or not.  He told her that he was going to spank her well in advance, as the family sat down to dinner, so she could think about it while she ate and listened to him talk about the stock market and the fool in the White House.  After dessert he spanked her.  Then she had to kiss him and say, ‘Thank you, Daddy, for earning the delicious meal.’”