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.


51. 51

Walking down the Borough bank Jane Cummings went into the picture house.’

“Can I see Mr Douglas please?’

“Just wait here a moment said one of the ushers as she went to the theatre manager’s office.

Shortly after, the usher returned and asked her to go into the office where Mr Douglas was expecting her.

“Good morning Madam what can I help you with said the grey haired theatre manager with a walrus moustache.’

“I’ve come about my daughter Margaret Cummings. She is not well Mr Douglas and has been told that she must convalesce so she is going to stay with my sister in the country.’

“I see; and how long will she be incapacitated?’

“The doctors say up to six months or even longer.’

“Is it serious?’

“Yes,’ she has tuberculosis and needs complete rest she lied.’

“Well I don’t know if I can keep her job open that long Mrs Cummings, I mean six months is a long time.’

“Yes I know that and I appreciate your concern.’

“The only option I have is to let her go Mrs Cummings but she can reapply for her job when she returns.’ “Margaret is a good loyal worker and I’m sure there will always be a place here for her.’ I will pay you what she is owed along with holiday entitlement.’ Michael Douglas went into the drawer and pulled out some money he counted it out in front of Jane before placing it into a wage packet.

“If you could just sign for this Mrs Cummings I have of course given your daughter something extra for her loyal service and I do hope that she recovers quite soon.’

Jane signed a slip of paper next to her daughter’s name.

“Thank you Mr Douglas; and I will convey your message to Margaret.’

Jane walked to the shops and got in a few things before heading home.


“Mam have you got anything that I can take to the hospital to give Terry?’

There’s some money on the mantle piece son; get him something with that.’

 Ralph picked up the two shillings from the mantle piece and ran out to the news agents for the new copy of the Beano. Then he went to Woolworth’s and bought a big bag of broken biscuits. He took out a few Bourbon creams and began to eat them as he opened the comic to read it on his way to the hospital.

He bumped into John Kimber who asked him where he was going.’

“I’m going to the hospital to see Terry Lane.’

How is he doing?’

“He’s getting better every time I see him.’

“That’s good; tell him we are all asking after him.’

 “I will.’

“Giz a few biscuits will yer; I’m starvin’

“They’re for Terry.’

“He’ll never eat all of them man.’

Ralph looked inside the bag and pulled out a couple of malted milk and Morning coffee biscuits.


“Got no cream ones in there?’

“No I haven’t, think yourself lucky you’re getting them.’

John took the biscuits then ran across the road.

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