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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Brenda stayed on at school she was studying medicine at Tynemouth collage and was working as a volunteer at Tynemouth infirmary. Soon she would take up employment as a full time nurse. Things were looking up for the family; but word soon got around about Cissies’ husband and there were many men who came on the sniff looking to cash in on the savings that Cissie had. Cissie was very wise and they were all sent packing.’

Cissie who was now forty five did not feel the need for another man in her life; she was quite content on her own. She owed nothing to anyone and was a respected woman. She got invited by the local church to sit on the committee of the church fellowship. Soon she was a leading voice in the community who spoke up about poverty at all of the meetings that she attended. She organised raffles and took in food parcels to help impoverished families in the Ridges Estate.



Coming out of the Asoldo picture house Agnes felt marvellous; the films had been very enjoyable. Having read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens when she was only twelve Agnes thought that the film might not have met expectations but it had. The acting was superb, especially from Alec Guiness and Robert Newton.

Norman escorted her across the road to his car then opened the door for her.

She got in and waited until Norman got in before thanking him for a wonderful day.

“Maybe we can do this again if you would permit me.’

“I would like that very much Norman.’

“How about next weekend then?’

“That would be nice.’

“Good; I will pick you up at the same place.’

“Norman drove her back to the base and Agnes leaned across and kissed Norman.’

“It was the first time that she had kissed a man other than her father.’

This felt completely different; her heart began to beat fast and her body was reacting in ways that she’d never felt before. She broke off from Normans embrace and got out of the car she took in a deep breath then said good night to Norman who smiled and then drove away. Agnes walked back to her billet with a spring in her step.’

Jenny her friend asked how her day had gone and she told her all as she undressed and got into her bunk.’

“You will still be coming with me wont you Agnes?’

“Of course I will I’ve already told Norman about it and he is fine about the idea.’

He is trying to get his father to send him out to Austria to do some reporting so you may meet him again.’

Make sure that you don’t go doing anything silly.’

“Like what?

“You know, get yourself pregnant.’

“There will be no hanky panky I assure you Jenny. I will remain a virgin until I am married.’

“You mean you are still a virgin?’

 “Are you not?’

“No, I lost mine to a ski instructor two years ago; he was called Revie Arno, tall and devilishly handsome.’ I was sixteen and had a massive crush on him. He invited me back to his chalet one evening and after a few glasses of wine we ended up in bed together. He was a gentle and experienced lover.’

“I was hopelessly in love for the first time in my life but the bubble was soon burst when I called on evening and he had another woman in his bed.’

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