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


7. 7

Ralph lathered himself in the soap suds blowing handfuls of bubbles all around the wash house. When he was washed he put on a pair of pyjamas and came into the living room. He always wondered why it was called a living room. Where was the dying room?

“Did you win then son asked Jack Mason as he put down his newspaper. Ralph sat on the arm of his fathers chair as he retold nearly every shot that he’d played.

“I had to declare dad because they couldn’t bowl me out.’

“Jack had to laugh and put his arm around his youngest son. “ We will see you playing cricket for England one day son.’

The quiet spoken man never raised his voice and he loved all of his children dearly.

His mother though was the backbone that held the family together.

“Ralph there’s a fruit scone and some home made jam on the table in the scullery for you, I will pour you a cup of tea when it has masted.’

“Thanks’ mam.’

Ralph jumped down from his chair in his pyjamas and ran to the scullery and sat on the wood chair. He picked up the large fruit scone that had been cut in half buttered and had some jam on each piece. His mother poured him a cup of tea and he spooned the sugar into it and stirred in a little puroh sterilised milk.

Ralph ate his scone and drank his tea then went to the bedroom he shared with his brother. John was reading a book as Ralph slipped into his bed. They talked about his friend Manny and the ghosts inside of the Skin Shop.

“You had better get to sleep; we have church in the morning.’

“Do we have to go to church John, said Ralph?’ I wanted to go to Scots Park tomorrow with Manny and the rest of the lads.’

“You can go afterwards can’t you?’

“Yes, but it means coming home and changing into my old clothes first.’

“It’s no good arguing; you know how mam and dad are about attending the church.’

“I know, I guess we will just have to go then.’

“Turn the light out will you.’

“But I just got into bed.’

“You’re the nearest.’

No I’m not said Ralph, you are.’

“Don’t argue Ralphie, just do it.’

“Ralph reluctantly got out of bed and switch off the light.’

“Good night bro’

“Goodnight Ralph sulked.’


“It was ten o’clock when Hannah and Jack retired; they lay awake talking which they usually did for ten or fifteen minutes before they kissed and went to sleep.



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