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’ll be here.’

“Good; I tell you what though Brian would you mind if I changed at your house because it’s a bit of a rush getting from school to your house.

“Of course you can; my mam won’t mind.

The girls drank their tea then left to get changed.’ Sharon Hamil turned back and gave Ralph a wave.’

“She fancies you she does said Brian.’

 “She’s older than me though.’

“Only by a year; that is nothing.

“So do you live far from the rink?’

“We live in Seaton Delaval.’

Quite away to come then.’

“Well my dad brings us then takes us home again.’

“That is why we have to leave at nine, because we have home work to do before we go to bed and dad doesn’t like us to stay up late when we have to be here at six each morning.’

Joanne just lives around the corner to my house so it isn’t far for us to meet up.’

We usually do our homework together because we are in the same class as well.’

What school do you go to?’

“We go to Whitley bay high school.’

“Do you like it?’

“It’s alright, Mrs Stephenson is our form teacher, and she is really nice. What about you.’

“I go to the College of Knowledge.’

“Really, you’re a bit young to be going to college aren’t you?’

No, that’s what they call Ralph Gardner Secondary Modern.’

Oh, she began to laugh, why is it called that?’

“Because hardly anyone learns anything there; the vast majority will end up out of work and the teachers have just given up I think. They tend to just go through the motions and there are some who just don’t care at all.’

“That is sad because everyone deserves a chance.’

“So how do you know Brian?’

“We just met today actually; he sits beside me in my class and asked if I would like to come along.’

Have you enjoyed yourself then?’

“Oh yes it’s really good fun picking yourself up off the ice.’

“You will soon get the hang of it.’

“I thought it would be like roller skating but it’s a little bit more difficult.’

“Yes it is at first but in a week or two it won’t be as bad and you will be moving around better.’

Brian is really good isn’t he?’

Yes, he is; he’s been skating longer than us though.   

“Yes he told me.’

“We are going to have to leave now as my dad will be outside but we will see you tomorrow night if you are coming.

“Oh yes, I will be here.’

“See you then.’

“Bye.’

The girls walked down to the changing room then went inside.’

They came out shortly after wearing their skirts and jumpers and black shoes.

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