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.


85. 85

In North Shields Jane Cummings was still playing the part of a pregnant woman. She was going out to work on the fish quay and hoped that the two large cushions that she had stuffed up the front of her dress didn’t slip down. She returned home after her shift then lay on the bed exhausted. Wearing more clothes to make her look bigger than she was almost had her keeling over in the heat.’

The sweat had been running down her forehead, her back and the front of her dress was soaked as she gutted herrings and placed them into the barrels.’

It was just after eight o’clock when the phone rang and Jane picked it up.’

Hello Jane its Sarah; Margaret had a little boy earlier this afternoon; she and the baby who she has named Brian George are both doing fine. You can now come up to see her tomorrow. I will meet you off the bus and we will both go to see her.’

“Thanks’ for everything Sarah.’

You can stay at my house until Margaret is ready to return home in a few days. Then your cover won’t be blown. People will assume the baby is yours and that Margaret has returned home to see he new sister.’

“I hope that we have pulled this off Sarah.’

“Tongues would have been wagging by now if they thought anything else Jane.’

“That’s true; they are just being sympathetic towards me.’

“That’s good keep all of those clothes you’ve been wearing on until you get here then “I will loan you a dress that you can wear.’

“How can I ever repay what you have done?’

Think nothing of it; it might have happened to either one of us; we were just lucky.’

“What time should I meet you off the bus Sarah?’

Say one o’clock; that gives you time to change and for us to be at the hospital for visiting.’

“Alright; I will see you then Jane.’

“Goodbye for now Sarah.’

The phone went dead and Jane got up and went and told her husband the news.’

“We have a grandson George.’

“Is our Margaret alright?’

Yes they are both fine; now you get the cot and the room ready for Margaret coming home.’

“When is she coming home?’

“They say in a few days; this is going to be strange for all of us; we are not going to slip up here are we George?’

“I mean if people find out it will be even worse for us.’ As far as we are concerned he is our son.’

That is the way it must be until Margaret and Brian move away from here. We can then say I lost the child.’

“Babies die all the time from different things so it will not be suspicious.’

“Does Brian know of our plan?’

“There’s no doubt that our Margaret will have told him.’

“He has got to keep his gob shut and so have his parents as well.’

“I will Speak with Brian tomorrow in my lunch break love said George.’

“Good; I am meeting wor Sarah tomorrow and will be staying with her until Margaret comes home. Then you can tell people I was visiting my sister when my waters broke and they took me to a hospital near by in Stannington to have the baby.’

“My you are one clever woman Jane.’


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