The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


18. 18

“Good night son.”

Joe sat up on his pillow reading where he’d left off until sleep got the better of him and he turned off the bedside lamp and lay down.


“He’s totally obsessed with these Charles Atlas magazine’s yer na John?

“There’s worse things Sal’ be thankful.”

“Do you know he asked me to get him five pounds of porridge oats so he can eat Porridge for breakfast each morning?”

“John laughed; he’s a growing lad Sal he’s going to be bigger than me because he’s already up to my shoulders now and his only eleven.

They turned on the Redifusion television set where they watch an episode of Gunsmoke before turning in.

Sally checked on Joe who was now fast a sleep she knelt down and kissed his brow then gently closed the door on her way out.

Sally got into bed beside her husband and cuddled up to him. She still loved him after fifteen years of marriage as much as she had the first time they met when she was only twelve years old. It was the summer of 1942 and she had gone to Hawkey’s Lane baths with her two friends and her sister Lizzie.

John was diving off the top board when she asked her friends Denise Villaverde and June Patterson who he was. “That’s John Kimber, he’s in my class at school said June.” Should I go and ask him to come over said Denise who had no fear of approaching boys.

John came over with his friend Alan Heads and his brother Jimmy. They got talking and John asked if she was going to the dance at St Josephs School.”

“Are you a Catholic John?

“Me no, my friends are they are going but anyone can come it’s only thru pence to get in.”

“When is it on then?

“Friday night six o’clock until nine.”

“I will ask my mam but my sister will have to come with me is that alright?”

“Of course it is.”

They played in the pool that was absolutely freezing; but they cared not a jot as they jumped onto a rubber inner tube from an old tyre from the garage at Chirton.

“Where do you live then sally John asked after they had got changed behind a tarpaulin sheet that stretched across each side of the pool?

“I live across the road from the Chirton Club on Silkey’s Lane.” Where do you live?

“Hunter’s Close replied John.”

“That’s in Percy Main isn’t it?

“Yes, that’s right.

When they reached where Sally lived; she told John that she would see him at the dance.


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