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.


72. 72

 On Christmas morning at 5 am; Ralph jumped out of bed to see what presents he had. All the presents were wrapped in old newspapers. He quickly found his pile under the tree and pulled them out. His father had made him a fort so he could play soldiers with. There was a bag full of knights on horseback; and another bag with soldiers holding spears, bows and arrows, and others holding swords.

He got two annuals; one was the Beano and the other the Topper. He got a pair of slippers from his Gran and a pair of pyjamas from his Uncle. 

Ralph set up the two armies and began to re-enact a battle; his knights charged the men on the ground and the bowmen shot arrows at the men trying to storm the castle. Ralph made all the sound effects as he used his imagination to play.

His brother John got up an hour later. He got a model plane that had to be glued together. I the pieces were joined onto one piece of plastic and you broke them off as you needed them. Once all the parts were put together using the scale model printed diagram of where every part went it, was then left to dry. In another present were the small tins of model paint and a brush. He could turn the lid of the box over and could paint the plane in the same colours as the original. Once the pain was dry he could then put on the transfers. Then it was placed onto the plinth or hung up using strong thread in his bedroom.

Last year he got the HMS Ark Royal it stood proudly on his table.

He got two albums as well; one being the new Eagle annual and the other was a copy of the Broon’s. 

Like his brother he got a pair of slippers and pyjamas. The stockings on the mantelpiece had an apple an orange and some mixed nuts.’

His parents got up shortly after and both the children wished them a merry Christmas and thanked them for their gifts.’

Ralph went to his room and came out with a present for his mother and father.

He had gotten his mother a new purse and his father a paper back book by Neville Shute with his snow shovelling money.’

John had bought his mother a scarf and his father a new cap. They had put the rest of their money together to buy their sister Agnes a brooch that could either be worn in a hat or on her coat.

It was 9am when the phone rang and their father answered.’

“Hello Agnes, Merry Christmas.’

“Merry Christmas to you both said Agnes; I have all your presents here at the base and I will bring them home by the end of the week.’

“I am staying with Jenny’s parents today and tomorrow but will be home on Friday.’

“That’s alright love; hoping that you have a nice time. We look forward to seeing you on Friday when it’s your birthday.’

“Tell the boys I said merry Christmas for me wont you.’

“Yes love, I will.’

“Say merry Christmas to your sister.’

“They both shouted down the phone and nearly deafened their sister.’

“I must go dad we are going to church in a moment.’

“Your mam and I went to midnight mass with the boys.’

 Alright then love I will let you go; take care and enjoy your Christmas with your friends.

You too dad bye.’

Bye Agnes.’

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