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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 I wonder how many of them have returned to North Shields since the 3rd of May 1941.

“Not many I expect said Ralph.’ “I don’t think I would want to come back after that as it would be too upsetting.’

“Some of them will be working now or even married with children of their own.’

“Did you bring any games with you Ralph asked Marlene?’

“Yes in my bag, I have my blow football game and my ludo and snakes and ladders.’

“Great get them out Ralph and we will have a game with the girls.’

“Yes but if anyone is out then they have to do a dare.’

“Like what asked Manny and Tony Santos?

“You have to kiss one of the girls on the lips.’

“Do we have to said Ralph.’

“Yes that’s the rules.’

“Say’s who?’

“Say’s Liz don’t you?’

“What if you girls lose what are they going to do?’

“They have to show part of their body that no boy has ever seen said Tucker Young.’

Liz quickly nodded then they all gathered round whilst the first game got started.

There were two boards going at the same time one with snakes and ladders and the other with Ludo. There were two girls and two boys playing against each other.

You had to roll a six to start each game and you had you own colour Ralph chose blue and Manny Red. The girls Catherine Rice and Susan Sunigar had yellow and green. The game started when the fist player got a six he had four counters and he had to get them all round the board to win but he or she could only get out another counter if he rolled a six.

Jan Nicholson and Ann Whelan took on Tony Santos and John Mason in the snakes and ladders game. Tucker Young played blow football with Allie Walker. Tension was high as no one wanted to have to forfeit by losing a game. The way things were going it looked in Ralph’s favour as he got three counters on the board straight away. The other girls looked on and began to cheer their players on each time they made significant progress. Allie walker was losing 4-0 and was trying desperately to score a goal in the blow football game.

Robert and Johnny Legg both waited patiently to play against Ann Crosby and Liz Churnside.

A big cheer went up as Susan Sunigar got her first counter home in the ludo game but she had not thrown another six since starting and her other three counters were not in play.

Ralph rolled another six and now he had all his counters in play.

Catherine Rice rolled another six and she brought out another counter then rolled a five. There was a booing noise on the snakes and ladders game as the lads who had got to fifty suddenly landed on a snake and it took them back to ten.

The light was fading and the lads put on their torches. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife as the games continued. Ralph moved his counters slowly

 Around the board. Manny had now three counters on the board and needed just another six to get them all in play.

The game continued for a half an hour and both Manny and Ralph triumphed against the girls they were playing. However John and Tony lost to Ann and Jan.

It was the first to score ten goals in the blow football game and Tucker was winning 9-3 he needed only one goal to win and got that after a mistake by Allie.

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