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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“I will return at the end of the week with the new baby and no one will be any of the wiser. “Do you understand Margaret? Now you are going to have to tell Brian and his parents of our plan or our reputation will be shot to shit.’

“I have written to him mam; I’ve told him that he must tell no one, not even his best friends.

“That’s good Margaret; for the time being little Brian is going to have to be your brother.’

“I know mam; it’s going to be hard though isn’t it. I mean knowing he’s mine but pretending he’s yours.’

“This is the only way love; unless you move away altogether.

“Here’s the doctor coming Margaret.’

Hello Miss Cummings; sister tells me that you are doing fine and she is confident that you can look after your baby. I see no reason why you cannot go home.’

“Can I go now doctor?’

“Yes, as long as you have transport.’

“My aunt has a car haven’t you?’

“Right then, just pull the screen around you, and get your clothes on.’

“Right Margaret we will go and collect Brian from the nursery whilst you are getting yourself ready.’

“I brought you a dress to wear Margaret; I know it’s a little old fashioned but it will fit you I’m sure. It’s in your locker at the bottom.

Both Sarah and Jane pulled the screen around then left the ward and went to the nursery.

Walking down the corridor they followed the signs until they came to the nursery.’

“Hello we’ve come to collect my daughter’s baby; he’s called Brian George Harman.

“Yes, just one moment I will go and fetch him and all of his things.’

Moments later the ward sister came out carrying baby food and other freebies from the hospital the nurse handed the child to Jane and she looked down on her grandson. She could see her daughter in him as he looked up at her.

“He had blue eyes like hers and a mop of dark hair.’

They waited until Margaret joined them then the nurses followed them to the door before wishing Margaret well.



Ralph mason ran all the way home from school, he ran up the lane past the co-operation yard he carried on running until he came to his gate then went into the house.

“Mam, can I go to the ice rink with a lad from school tonight.’

“If you want, but can you skate?’

“I cannot be that hard; I can roller skate so I’m going to give it a go.’

I’m meeting him outside of Smiths Park at quarter to five I cannot be late so I’m getting changed now.’

“What about your tea?’

“I ate a good dinner today and had seconds of pudding so I will get something when I come back.’

“What time will that be?’

“Not late mam.’

“You had better hurry then its half past four now,’

Ralph quickly cleaned his teeth before grabbing his bike and was away down the street before his mother could say bye.’

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