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.


77. 77

Your mother here doesn’t think I know but I do see; look at you Bobby do you look like me or your mother come to that.’

“I do know who you do look like though and I bet he’s your father an aal.’

“Robert please, not here not in front of the children. Florie’s protests fell upon deaf ears as Bobby Grant carried on with his onslaught of taunts.’

“You see your real father lives up the street.’ “Your mother here trapped me by telling me you were my child when in fact you are George Cottingham’s kid.’

Bobby looked at his mother, he hoped that his father was lying but then he started to put two and two together. All those fish and chip suppers for free. Why would he do that? Robert chewed on the chicken as Florie let loose with an onslaught of her own.

 “I should have married George not you. Look at you fat, bald, and ugly. I cringe every time you come near me with your beer stinking breath. You are a fat ugly pig Robert who farts all night long.’

“Who you calling a fat ugly pig; Robert rose from the table and was about to back hand his wife when he suddenly grabbed his chest and then fell headfirst to the scullery floor.

At first his mother thought he’d passed out with the drink until she turned him over and the blank bulging eyes stared back at her. Robert Grant was dead.

“Go and call an ambulance Bobby.’ said his mother softly.’

 Mother it’s too late he’s dead.’

“Do as I say Bobby.’

Bobby flew out of the house with his coat and instead of going to a phone box he went to George Cottingham’s house and banged on his door until he answered.

“What’s the matter lad you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.’

“It’s… it’s the man who’s meant to be my father but isn’t; he told me that you are my real father; is that right?’

“Look Bobby, this was a long time ago before your mother married your father.’

“Well he’s gone now so you’ve nowt to worry about.’

“What do you mean has he left Florie and you all?

“No, He’s just dropped doon deed in the scullery and me mother told me to get an ambulance.’

“Come in Bobby and start again what happened.’

Bobby gave a blow by blow account of what happened and then George rang an ambulance and then the police.

“Come on fasten your coat I will drive you home.’

Bobby walked out of the house then got into George’s blue Woolsey.

“He drove to Florie’s house the door was open as George went in. Florie had covered her husband’s body with a coat. ‘

“Florie are you alright said George.’ Florie was standing in shock as George took charge He checked for a pulse on Robert’s neck but there was none.’

Within minutes both the ambulance and the police arrived.

A coroner came shortly after that to pronounce Robert Grant dead.’

“We will have to take your husband for a post mortem Mrs Grant; you will be able to come and see your husband once we have discovered the cause of death.

“Florie I want you and the kids to come to my house now. You cannot stay here.’

William got Florie’s coat and led her down the passage with her two children.

She let Bobby close the door as she got into the car and George drove away.’



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