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.


93. 93

Sarah pulled away and drove towards her cottage; Sarah drove like a maniac and took the bends at speed Jane ended up hanging on for dear life and was very glad when the car actually stopped.

“Here we are back at the old watering hole; come in, come in Jane I will make you a cup of tea whilst you get out of those rags. There’s a bath already ran for you and there’s a clean dress of mine you can have.

Jane was expecting to see a tin bath not enamel. She was quite taken aback by the size of the cottage which was twice the size of her house.’

She undressed taking all of the clothes off and the two large cushions then stepped into the water which was sheer luxury. Sarah had added some bath salts which had a lovely smell and she was her hair with this liquid that made lather and was not like the carbolic soap that she normally used. She used a loofah to wash her back and the posh soap that Katie Boyl the actress advertised in the Evening Chronicle.’

She could have lain in the bath for an hour but she knew that she was going to the hospital to see Margaret and the new baby.

Sarah had left towels out for her and she dried her self the washed out the bath before putting on the blue corn flowered dress that her sister had given her to put on. Jane looked at herself in the full length mirror. She had lost so much weight with wearing more clothes to pretend that she was with child.

There was a white belt that went around her waist and she replaced her shoes then came out of the bathroom with all of the clothes she had been wearing. Here Jane give them to me I will dispose of them; they are fit for the bin.’

Sarah was about to protest but thought better of it.’

“Now here’s a nice cup of tea and a piece of fruit cake. You look like a starved dog.’

“Well it looks like you pulled it off then Jane; the family reputation is intact.

Jane’s hair was short unlike her sister’s who was blessed with thick wavy hair.

After her tea Jane combed her hair then put on a little face powder. She added rouge on her cheeks to give her a bit colour then some red lipstick.

That’s a bit of an improvement anyway said her sister as they made their way back to the car and drove through the village to the hospital. Sarah made her lie sideways in the back of the car until they got past the village in case they were seen.

Once they were at the hospital they went straight to the ward where her daughter was. Jane ran to her daughter and hugged her.

“Oh my darling are you alright.’

“Yes mam I’m fine; where’s the little one; let’s have a look at him.’

“They took him to the nursery during visiting you can see him on your way out.’

The doctor was meant to be coming to see me later this afternoon.’

“There’s nothing wrong with you or the baby is there?’

No mam it’s to see whether I can go home.’

“Well you look alright to me but what do I know.’

Jane pulled up two chairs and they sat by the bed chatting away.

“Your Aunt Sarah is going to let me stay at her house now when they let you out of here we will take you to the bus stop where you will go back home to Shields.’ “You can then go straight to the borough and ask if you can have your old job back. You tell them that you’re fully recovered from Tuberculosis now.’

“I will stay here and look after the baby. I want you to go out and walk around Shields and let as many people see you as possible. If they ask about me then you tell them that I went into labour whilst at my sister’s house and were taken to a hospital in Morpeth.’


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