Before World War II I attended a small (about 40 boys) boarding school in a very area in Maine. The isolation was intentional as the remoteness of it’s isolation, coupled with emphasis upon Spartan outdoor life with English type schooling was felt by the Head Master to contribute to a “healthy mind in a healthy body.”
Scholastic requirements were high and discipline, while not of the traditional birch and cane type, was, none the less strict. Boys lived in “squads” and were responsible for cleaning their own and the common room. This not only included bed making, etc., but personal hygiene as well. A daily inspection was made by Miss Trimble, the school nurse. Demerits, given by Miss Trimble, resulted in “swats” being given to the unfortunate culprit by other members of his squad before the game period in the afternoon.
Miss Trimble was Scots-Welsh. A well-built woman in her forties, her uniform always blinding white and crisply starched. She had the traditional Scotch “dour” look and in the four years I attended thee school, I don’t think I ever saw her smile.
Miss Trimble was efficient, old fashioned and single minded. For example, she would run her finger over each boy’s tooth brush during the room inspection and a dry brush during her room inspection. A dry brush (presumably meaning failure to brush your teeth that morning) meant a public tooth brushing at the drinking fountain outside of the common room after lunch while the whole school looked on. Two dry brushes in one week meant “swats” by one’s squad members while Miss Trimble, arms folded over her uniform, nodded her approval.
The nearest doctor was in a town fifty miles away which meant, of course, that Miss Trimble, except in extreme emergencies, was responsible for the health and well being of the forty boys. Thus, our throats were scrubbed with iodine at the first signs of soreness, camphor rubbed on out hairless chests if we coughed and, above all, we were thoroughly “washed out” at the first sign of almost any malady.
Miss Trimble’s quarters were next to a small “office” adjacent to two rooms each containing a bed and separated by a joint bathroom. On each inside door of the bathroom hung a two quart white enamel can with it’s rubber hose looped neatly in an oval around it. Inside each can, but protruding ominously as the eye of a snake was coiled a high colonic tube. In each sick room, about three feet above the head of the bed was a coat hook. On the bedside table was a pitcher, a glass, and small jar of Vaseline. Miss Trimble believed in being prepared.
A visit to Miss Trimble’s office with a complaint of a cold or headache meant temperature and pulse taking. If both were normal, Miss Trimble would write out a “pass” indicating that you were to return just at lights out time that night, clad only in your pajamas, bathrobe and slippers. a temperature meant a call by her to the Head Master and instant confinement to one of the infirmary rooms.
Either assignment resulted in the same treatment, the only thing that varied was the number of “good” (as Miss Trimble put it) enemas you received.
The summons to return at lights out was in many ways the most embarrassing. You would tip toe down the hall, hoping that none of your school mates were illegally up and would see you, trying to avoid any Masters that might be wandering about, and above all, the height of ignominy, a Master’s wife! For there was no doubt as to your destination, not what would take place once you got there.
Miss Trimble would meet you at the door, gesture to one of the empty infirmary rooms (if both were occupied, you were required to bend over a footstool in the office). A white rubber sheet had been spread over the bed, the bed light turned on, the Vaseline jar significantly opened, and the taps were running in the bathroom. You were instructed to take off your bathrobe, remove your pajama bottoms and lie face down on the cold rubber sheet, Miss Trimble would disappear in the bathroom, but door ajar, you could hear the clink of the enamel against the sink, the glob of liquid soap, the adjusting of the water temperature, the splash of water into the can and the higher pitched note of water rising into the container. Then a moment of silence. Time enough to look up over your head, the faint scratches on the painted wall bearing mute testimony to the numerous times a can had hung from it’s peg.
The silence was broken by an ominous click followed by a faint spatter of water as Miss Trimble snapped open the clamp and expelled air and a few spoonfuls of the milky-like solution into the basin. Then the closing click and Miss Trimble would appear from the bathroom. She was an apparition in white, broken only by the deep red of the hose as it dangled en an arc from the can and was caught, it’s end disappearing into the dollar colored colon tube, firmly in Miss Trimble’s efficient right hand. In her left hand was the can itself, soapsuds piled up in a froth an inch or more above the top with her wrist covered by a small white neatly folded towel. A glance by Miss Trimble to see if you were in proper position, then with a rustle of the starched uniform she stretched over your head and settled the can on the hook. Slowly she uncoiled the loop and laid the colonic tube and the hose beside your now trembling body.
Almost as if it were in slow motion I can remember even now her deliberate moves. First, the glob of Vaseline on her finger. the slithering of her greased fingers down the tube and back up again, the second dab on the index finger of her right hand, the parting of your tensed buttock cheeks with the thumb and forefinger of her left hand. The oily sensation as her fingers spread, first softly, then sharply as a bit of the Vaseline was deposited within your resisting anus, then again the greasing of the tube to remove whatever lubricant was left on her hands. She caressed the tube lovingly, much as a fine wood-maker would carefully wax a piece of fine furniture. Next, grasping the apparatus by the rubber hose, she would let the colon tube dangle from her hand - slowly it would slightly swing as she critically surveyed it shimmering with it’s new coat of grease. A curt order to pull your knees up as the towel was rudely thrust under your buttocks, the back of her hand brushing both testicles. The parting of the cheeks and the probing began again. This time, however, no withdrawal after the intruding tube had been poked slightly into your clenched rosebud anus. Deliberately, forcefully, Miss Trimble slid the tube deeper and deeper while her left hand steadied herself on the small of your naked back.
An inch, two, three, then at the first hint of obstruction, her left hand would fly to the clamp and release the enema’s soapy contents. The hose would stiffen, there would be a gurgle and for an instant nothing else except the uncomfortableness of the rubber tube stretching your rectum. Suddenly a gush of warmth, an almost audible sensation of gushing inside of you as Miss Trimble’s enema began.
The pushing, twisting, inserting ever forward continued along with the steady flow of a bit too warm water constantly pouring into you as Miss Trimble’s forceful fingers never left their task.
A protest of cramps, or pleas to “please stop it - just for a minute” brought no reply. Only when you shifted your legs or rolled your body did the inexorable flow stop as Miss Trimble would exasperatedly clip the clamp shut for a moment. Depending upon her mood it would be followed by a sharp sting as her hand struck your quivering buttocks, or at the least, threats to “in spite of the Head Master,” take a switch to you.
However, the respite was only short lived and long before the cramp had subsided the clamp would be opened and the filling of your bowels continued. Even when the colon tube was fully inserted there was no mercy to Miss Trimble’s enemas.
Of course I was no stranger to enemas, for from my earliest years my Mother or our housekeeping had often washed me out. However, they had used a red rubber bag, and I could judge how long my suffering would last by the shrinkage of the bag. However, Miss Trimble’s white enamel can gave no clue as to how much or how little of it’s steamy contents it yet held. Cramps were too subjective to be accurate and I would try to guess by the swelling of my extended belly. When I estimated it was empty (I was always wrong), I would cry, “That’s all, take it out please, please. please.” Miss Trimble’s only reaction was to shake the can and, if indeed it were low, to tilt it so, as she put it, I could get the benefit of every last drop.
As slowly as the tube had been inserted, it was taken out, with sliding rapidity, it’s coils unwinding with your bowels as Miss Trimble wasted no time in withdrawal. She sternly warned you to “hold it” as she took the apparatus to the bathroom to clean it up.
You writhed on the bed , teeth clenched, forehead dotted with sweat, knees drawn up to your chest as Miss Trimble began the lengthy ritual of washing, testing and drying the equipment. Then, when it seemed you could hold it no longer, she would appear at the door of the bathroom and with a curt gesture of her head, grant you permission to rush, doubled over, hands to your to your swollen body, to the safety of the inviting toilet. Gone were all thoughts of modesty as your eyes beseeched Miss Trimble to close the door so the blessed evacuation could begin.
Then, later, with pajamas and robe back on you had to submit to the embarrassing questions before you were allowed to steal back crimson faced, to your room. “Did it all come out?” “Do you want another one?” “Do you feel better now?” It was worse, of course, if you were confined to bed in the infirmary. Miss Trimble’s “care” consisted of three enemas a day, sometimes accompanied by a glass of castor oil and orange juice until your fever or other symptoms were normal.
First thing in the morning, you would be greeted by a before breakfast washout with her sturdy can, even before you were fully awake (it didn’t take more than a few cupfuls of soapy water to make you wide eyed, however.) Then another at about two in the afternoon, so you could “rest and nap afterwards” and, of course. the last thing at night, a warm enema so you could “sleep better”.
Miss Trimble must be, if she is still alive, a very old lady, however, I know many generations of Saint Helen’s School for Boys still remember, with mixed emotions, her enemas and her flushing outs as part of their school days.