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. i

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When the reveille sounded Agnes got out of her bunk quickly whilst others tried to drown out the sound by placing the blankets over their heads.

It was 6am and she took a toilet bag and headed for the bathroom. Once she had showered and dressed she quickly put up her hair with a few clips then put on her cap and made her way to the canteen where she ate some corn flakes and a boiled egg.

Then she headed over to Flight Lieutenant Samuel J Lawton’s office ready to start her first day as his new secretary. She collected the post and then set about putting paper into the typewriter ready to dictate a letter. She removed her coat and hat and hung it up; she was now sitting in her whit shirt and tie with a light blue skirt one inch above the knee and stockings with black two inch flat heeled shoes.

When the lieutenant arrived she stood up and saluted and gave her name and number.

“At ease Mason; welcome aboard. “ You are familiar with your duties I assume so I won’t bore you with the details. I have a few letters that I want copied and if I need anything I will let you know.

“Would you like a cup of tea sir?’

“That would be nice thank you.

The lieutenant was about five feet ten inches tall, she guessed his age at about forty six. Agnes thought he was a handsome looking man with black wavy hair which was well groomed. He had been injured in the hip after German fighter plane had ripped a few holes in the side of his Spitfire over Berlin in 1944 and now walked with a stick.

He hadn’t realised he’d been shot until they landed when he felt pain in his side as he tried to get out of the cockpit. He had shot down the German fighter plane after a fierce attack. The Spitfire 109 was a superior weapon against the German Luftwaffe.

Agnes brought him his tea and a plate of biscuits she had bought from the canteen.

She knocked before entering then set down the tray and poured out a cup for her new boss.

“Biscuits too aye said Lawton with a smile; you and I are going to get on very well if you keep spoiling me with biscuits Mason.’

“Do you take sugar sir?’

“No thank you; with all the sugar in those biscuits I won’t need any he laughed.’

“Will that be all sir?’

“There is just these letters to copy and send off to Wing Commander Boris H Reid.’

“Yes sir; Agnes Picked up the pile of letter from his desk and saw the photographs of his wife and his daughter.

“Your wife and daughter are very pretty said Agnes.

“Yes,’ Heather is a good old stick and my daughter Elizabeth spoils me rotten; I love them both terribly.’

“I can see why sir.’

“Are you married Mason?’

No sir not yet I’m not seventeen until next week.’

“It be long then; a good looking girl like you will be snapped up before you know it.’

“It was nice of you to say so sir.’

“Not too soon mind you, I don’t want to lose you just yet.’

“Yes sir.’ Agnes smiled at the lieutenant as she left his office and sat at her desk and made a start on the letters he had given her.

 

 

 

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