The Skin Shop

The story which is semi autobiographical tells the story of Ralph Mason Growing up in Collingwood Terrace in North Shields in 1948. it is a story of Hardship, poverty, love, and friendship just after the Second World War. Some names have been changed and I have used some poetic licence to bring the story to back to life as some of the places talked about in this story are no longer with us. "The Skin Shop is one boys journey into manhood.


40. 40

Her training lasted twelve weeks before she passed out on the parade ground with her other colleagues. Jenny came running in and hugged her friend.

Did you enjoy your leave then?’

Yes but it’s good to be back she said.

It’s been lonely in here without you.’

Did you not go home?’

“No I stayed on the base; mother and father are away and won’t be back for another three weeks then they will be going to Austria with us.’

I hope you don’t mind but I asked my mother to buy me some new skiing gear so you can have my old stuff. It’s still in good nick and the ski’s and boots are good too.’

“Thank you Jenny. I don’t know how to thank you.’

“Just helping my best friend she winked.’

“Now tell me all about your weekend, did you meet anyone nice.’

“Not whilst I was at home but on the way back here I met a man on the train. We got talking; he took me for a cup of tea then we sat in the first class compartment of the train and he bought me lunch. His father apparently owns the Daily Telegraph newspaper.’

“Wow so are you seeing him again?’

“Yes he’s taking me to a real football match because Newcastle united are playing Tottenham Hotspur.’

“You have got to introduce me to him.’

He’s picking me up outside the base on Saturday lunch time. Do you want to come with us I’m sure he wouldn’t mind?’

Are you sure?’

“Of course you are my best friend aren’t you?’

“Alright I will come with you.’

Agnes took out her best shoes and polished them up to a high shined then placed them with her other kit. She could now relax and talk with her friend who wanted to know everything about Norman.

The sat on her bunk together as Agnes went into every detail about the new man in her life.’

The others were right she just couldn’t get Norman out of her head. She opened her eyes after they had got into bed about ten o’clock and she could still see his face, his smile and his lips and his blue eyes. He was so handsome she thought to herself as sleep suddenly got the better of her.


It had been nearly two months since Cissie McLachlan and her two boys had been evicted she was going to the shops for Dolly Ruby Alice. She had been so kind allowing her and her boys to stay at her house. She helped with all the chores and they took turns cooking. The little money that she did get from the National Assistance Board was used to help Dolly pay the rent and to buy food. She walked up the street and bumped into the postman. “Hello Cissie I have a letter for you.’ Could you sign for it please?’

Sign, why have I got to sign?’

“Because it’s an official letter from a solicitor I think.’

Cissie took the letter and signed for it then placed it into her bag and thought no more about it. She carried on up Bedford Street until she came to Atkinson’s the fruiter’s.

She got what was on her list then popped over to the Co-op. she bought flour; to make bread, yeast and dried fruit to make scones for the boys. She had seventeen and sixpence to spend and it had to last all week. She had given Dolly money towards the 

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