Tag Archives: Virginia Frontiero McKinnon

Viva San Giuseppe! From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Virginia McKinnon shared her Saint Joseph story last year on GMG. She emailed it to me last night and I thought it would again be a treat to read it on this Saint Joseph’s Day eve.st-joseph-picture0001_thumb

I remember as a child in the 1930’s my neighbor in Gould Ct., Maria Parisi, we affection called “Zia Marrica”  would come to my home with her laundry basket. My Mom would take her little religious statutes from our China cabinet and wrap then carefully and fill her basket, also visiting other homes in the neighborhood, Zia Marrica would set up a very beautiful ornate alter in her home with candles, fresh flowers, a large statue of St. Joseph with many statutes of saints in honor of  St. Joseph. The feast day is celebrated on March 19th every year. Zia Marrica would hold open house for nine days, also inviting the children to recite the rosary and sing the traditional Italian hymns for the novena.  I loved listening to the stories she would tell us of the saints.

Our Pastor Father Kiley went to the superintendent of school and requested the children of Sicilian heritage, be allowed to be dismissed early from school on St. Joseph’s Day to participate in the festivities. I remember going to Zia Marrica’s home. I would sit very quietly as the reenactment  began. The players were orphans. A man representing St. Joseph, a women for Our Blessed Mother and a child for Jesus. The man would knock door three times, requesting food and shelter for his family, during his flight to Egypt. On the third request she would open the door and we would all shout “Viva San Giuseppe, Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” and greet the honored guest very affectionately. When they were seated Zia Marrica would first wash their feet, using a basin of water and towel. The table was filled with all  kinds of delicious food. Three dishes of each food. She spent most of the week cooking and neighbors also brought in food. I remember the honored guest were seated at the table.  All us children sat on the floor and we brought our own spoons. As the honored guest  tasted each dish, the food was passed down for us to enjoy. The first course was the traditional St. Joseph’s pasta.  Homemade pasta with a sauce made of chick peas, fava beans, cauliflower, and fennel. We all took a taste of the food passing the dishing around. In Sicily fava beans were believed to save the people in poor villages from famine, during a drought. They prayed for the intersession of St. Joseph to save them. Fava beans are always kept as a symbol of never being hungry again.

This year I have been  participating in the St. Joseph Novena at my friend, MaryAnn Orlando, home. We  recite the rosary first in English then St. Joseph’s rosary in Italian. We sing the traditional Italian hymns. Shouting “Viva San Giuseppe, and Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” after every hymn. We enjoy a social time and Italian desserts. I asked Mary Ann why she observed this saint’s day. She replied she has continued this custom down from her mother and grandmother.  She stated many people give thanks to St. Joseph for his intercession in answer to prayers and they relate many miracles through the intercession of St. Joseph. She stated her granddaughter was born with spinal bifida and look at that beautiful 13 year old serving people and bouncing with energy and happiness.

Also she stated her nephew was not expected to survive and awoke from a coma, as prayers were being said for him. Her altar is so beautiful. Our prayers are so sincere, I enjoy all the Italian hymns. I remember sitting with my mother and grandmother singing these hymns.  Many homes of Sicilian heritage in Gloucester host this feast every year.

Our parish priest visits each home blessing the altar, flour for making bread and pasta, oranges and lemons.  On the eve of St. Joseph’s day many people will visit for the blessing. A little bag with an orange for sweetness, a lemon for bitterness and a little loaf of bread for sustenance of life. On St. Joseph’s Day a bountiful buffet banquet with  traditional delicious Sicilian food  and wonderful pastry is offered. Each home has open house. All are welcome to attend. My friends, Grace Brancaleone and Katie Fontana also invite me to her homes every year to share in St. Joseph’s Day. I feel our Sicilian community is so blessed and fortunate to continue this wonderful custom.  This custom is celebrated all over this country and also in many parts of the world by people of Sicilian heritage.

Viva San Giuseppe!

virginia0001_thumb

My Valentine

dad bodybuilding0001
Hi Joey,
Many of your readers are asking for “more” after my last posting of “the beach guys.” Here is my Valentine, my husband Bob, The Love of My Life. Photo was taken about 1949, when he was recently discharged from the Navy. He was stationed in the Asiatic Pacific on LCT and LST landing crafts during WW2  as a diesel machinist in many major battles. At the Weight Lifting Club of the old YMCA, Bob was known as “Big Bob” by his many younger body building admirers. He never entered any contest, but you have to agree he would have won first prize. Bob will be 90 years young this year. He has discovered the fountain of youth, as he continues to lift weights in his home gym.
Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

1954 Good Harbor Beach- Those Were The Days, Weren’t They Virginia?

Hi Joey, Listening to your recent podcast, I thought “What can I do to spice things up for the guys?

Then I remembered some old snapshots I have of the Summer of 1954 on Good Harbor Beach. The Bodybuilders, members of the Old YMCA Weightlifting Club, would get together on Saturday afternoons at 3 o’clock and put on an exhibition of strength and entertainment I would call them the Beach Clowns You can see they were outstanding performing body lifts, pyramids, cartwheels, hand to hand, you name it. What a joy to watch them and a delight to their audience on the beach, every Saturday afternoon.

The first photo is my husband, Bob McKinnon, lifting Bob Bruce. Next photo Joe Orange lifting Bob Bruce. My Bob also had many poses with the Dickman twins, John and Charlie. Last photo is me eight months pregnant with my husband and Joe Orange. You have to agree these were the Strong Men of the greatest generation. All WW2 Veterans, home from the war and having a fun time. My husband and Joe Orange, also Tony Mattos, are the only guys left from the photos, but we have these precious memories. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon. 

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"Viva San Pietro" From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Hi Joey, Here is my Fiesta Story. The Heart of Fiesta: Prayer for our Fisherman.
My son, Hilary, actually had you  post my pictures before, but they are so beautiful,
I like to  look at them over again. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon
PS. My Father’s side Frontiero Family is having an informal reunion at the
Cupboard on Stage Fort on Thursday, June 11 from 4-5 pm
My mother’s side the Piscitello’s are having a Grand Reunion on
Sunday, July 14th at Stage Fort Park. My mother  was the first born of 11 children.
I will send pictures and an account of the Grand Affair Piscitello Reunion..

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“Viva San Pietro”              Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon 6/2013

Another Fiesta, another joy for Gloucester, starting with the nine day novena. I participated with my friends at American Legion Hall.
The ladies look forward to this annual event. Seeing old friends again. Rose Verga is the organizer of this pre-fiesta program. She reads a verse from the Bible, followed  with prayer to St. Peter for his intercession in keeping our fisherman safe, praying for our beautiful city of Gloucester and many prayers for healing, receiting each name of people in need of prayer.  We recite the rosary in Italian and sing our traditional Sicilian hymns .The service last for one hour. Renewing friendships over coffee and wonderful pastries each evening. On the ninth day, Tuesday evening our Pastor Father Kiley celebrated Mass. After mass our traditional  cassata cake was served. Our new St. Peter’s pins were distributed  Then the statue of St. Peter was taken down from the altar on the stage of the American Legion hall. We had a procession, chanting “Viva San Pietro,” all he way down  14 Beach Court  to Pavilion Beach.  After a dedication ceremony, the St. Peter‘s statue was taken back to the St. Peter’s Club on Roger St. On Friday evening the ladies  accompany the St. Peter statue in another procession  to St. Peter’s  place of honor on the altar in St. Peter’s Square.

So many memories and stories to tell of Fiesta’s in the past. I have seen 83 of the 86 fiesta’s, I remember seeing a group of fishermen wives and families seated in a circle on Commercial St., praying for nine days to St. Peter for his  intercession to bring their loved ones safely home from their fishing trips. proceeding St. Peter’s fiest day on June  29th. In later years beautiful ornate altar’s were erected on this spot. Every year an Italian man came from Boston with his sons and put the masterpieces altars together, mostly with paper, foil and pins. Each year the altar was different and took a month to erect. I have so many precious memories of 14 Beach Court, where my Dad lived before he married my mother. This was our family gathering place for Fiesta. My grandfather, Paul Frontiero and my Aunt Vincie made us all feel so special. Lots of cold drinks, cookies, sandwiches, everyone together having a good time. My dad had seven siblings, all had large families. I have lots of cousins. I loved watching the seine boat races on Pavilion Beach, the greasy pole, many contest for children, the procession on Sunday  and the fireworks on Sunday night.  Big set pieces fireworks on the beach followed by the American Flag display. Sometimes we would climb out my grandfather’s  bedroom window on to a little ledge for a bird’s eye view. Recently I looked up at that little ledge and wondered how all the kids were able to fit on that little ledge.

“Viva San Giuseppe” From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

“Viva San Giuseppe”      

St. Joseph Picture0001                                               
I remember as a child in the 1930’s my neighbor in Gould Ct., Maria Parisi, we affection called “Zia Marrica”  would come to my home with her laundry basket. My Mom would take her little religious statutes from our China cabinet and wrap then carefully and fill her basket, also visiting other homes in the neighborhood, Zia Marrica would set up a very beautiful ornate alter in her home with candles, fresh flowers, a large statue of St. Joseph with many statutes of saints in honor of  St. Joseph. The feast day is celebrated on March 19th every year. Zia Marrica would hold open house for nine days, also inviting the children to recite the rosary and sing the traditional Italian hymns for the novena.  I loved listening to the stories she would tell us of the saints.

Our Pastor Father Kiley went to the superintendent of school and requested the children of Sicilian heritage, be allowed to be dismissed early from school on St. Joseph’s Day to participate in the festivities. I remember going to Zia Marrica’s home. I would sit very quietly as the reenactment  began. The players were orphans. A man representing St. Joseph, a women for Our Blessed Mother and a child for Jesus. The man would knock door three times, requesting food and shelter for his family, during his flight to Egypt. On the third request she would open the door and we would all shout “Viva San Giuseppe, Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” and greet the honored guest very affectionately. When they were seated Zia Marrica would first wash their feet, using a basin of water and towel. The table was filled with all  kinds of delicious food. Three dishes of each food. She spent most of the week cooking and neighbors also brought in food. I remember the honored guest were seated at the table.  All us children sat on the floor and we brought our own spoons. As the honored guest  tasted each dish, the food was passed down for us to enjoy. The first course was the traditional St. Joseph’s pasta.  Homemade pasta with a sauce made of chick peas, fava beans, cauliflower, and fennel. We all took a taste of the food passing the dishing around. In Sicily fava beans were believed to save the people in poor villages from famine, during a drought. They prayed for the intersession of St. Joseph to save them. Fava beans are always kept as a symbol of never being hungry again.

This year I have been  participating in the St. Joseph Novena at my friend, MaryAnn Orlando, home. We  recite the rosary first in English then St. Joseph’s rosary in Italian. We sing the traditional Italian hymns. Shouting “Viva San Giuseppe, and Viva Maria, Gesu‘, Giuseppe” after every hymn. We enjoy a social time and Italian desserts. I asked Mary Ann why she observed this saint’s day. She replied she has continued this custom down from her mother and grandmother.  She stated many people give thanks to St. Joseph for his intercession in answer to prayers and they relate many miracles through the intercession of St. Joseph. She stated her granddaughter was born with spinal bifida and look at that beautiful 13 year old serving people and bouncing with energy and happiness.

Also she stated her nephew was not expected to survive and awoke from a coma, as prayers were being said for him. Her altar is so beautiful. Our prayers are so sincere, I enjoy all the Italian hymns. I remember sitting with my mother and grandmother singing these hymns.  Many homes of Sicilian heritage in Gloucester host this feast every year.

Our parish priest visits each home blessing the altar, flour for making bread and pasta, oranges and lemons.  On the eve of St. Joseph’s day many people will visit for the blessing. A little bag with an orange for sweetness, a lemon for bitterness and a little loaf of bread for sustenance of life. On St. Joseph’s Day a bountiful buffet banquet with  traditional delicious Sicilian food  and wonderful pastry is offered. Each home has open house. All are welcome to attend. My friends, Grace Brancaleone and Katie Fontana also invite me to her homes every year to share in St. Joseph’s Day. I feel our Sicilian community is so blessed and fortunate to continue this wonderful custom.  This custom is celebrated all over this country and also in many parts of the world by people of Sicilian heritage. 

Viva San Giuseppe! 

Virginia0001           

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon                March 2013                        

Update To The Post By Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon From The Infamous Fred Buck (Update At Bottom)

Hi Joey, I recently joined the Gloucester Writers Group.
On Jan. 17th I attended my first meeting, The Inaugural Meeting of
Fish Tales, Live Story Telling. I would like to share my story and pictures
with your readers. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Michael Frontiero 19580001F V Little Flower0001

Fish Tales
My Dad, Mike Frontiero, was a Gloucester Fisherman My Dad had many fish tales to tell. I remember my Dad taking a big piece of paper and with pencil in hand he would draw and explain the process of catching fish to me. He would draw a picture of his boat, the winch, doors and net and explain how the drag net is set by lowering the doors with the net into the ocean. The doors are at the end of long steel cables attached to the boat and the winch. The net is shaped like a big stocking. The doors keep the top of the stocking open to scoop up the fish. After several hours of towing the doors and the net are hauled up, closing the doors in the process. To do this a strong winch coils up the cables. With the doors secured at the side of the boat, the net is then hauled up high above the deck. The bottom of the net is pulled open, like opening a purse, dumping he fish on the deck for sorting. Then it’s all hands on deck, as the junk is thrown back into the ocean. All the ground fish is dressed (guttered) before going down into the fish hold and iced. This process continues until the decision is made when to bring the fish to market. Whiting is very fragile and had to get to market in two days, When fishing for haddock and cod the trips would last longer.

I never realize how dangerous my Dad’s occupation could be until one morning my Mom was listening to her ship to shore short wave radio, when she heard the voice of the skipper, Busty Serio “May-Day, May-Day the fishing vessel America was taking on water and sinking.” With her rosary beads in hand later she heard a fishing boat was near by and rescued the crew. My dad was the engineer, and the skipper remained on the boat, pumping the water desperately trying to save the America, until the Coast Guard arrived. They explained to my dad that the America could not be saved and they had to abandon ship. My Dad said as they were leaving he witnessed a huge funnel hole appear and the America was sinking into this hole. The current was so strong the Coast Guard boat was having difficulty from being drawn into this hole.

My dad and the skipper had a new fishing boat built in South Bristol Maine. Harvey Gamage Boatyard was in the process of building a yatch and he accommodated them by turning this into a beautiful fishing boat, as time was money. I remember spending many wonderful weekends in Maine watching the boat building process. Soon the boat was launched and christened “Little Flower: in honor of St. Theresa. My dad was fishing again on the beautiful fishing boat. She was the pride of the Gloucester fishing fleet.

On December 13. I believe the year was 1952. the Little Flower was at sea, when a hugh storm appeared from out of nowhere. My Dad stated the waves were over 12 feet high. My Dad said a huge wave was heading toward the Little Flower. He and the crew gathered into the pilot house. They were on their knees in front of the little religious shrine. They made a sacred promise to God to never go fishing on Santa Lucia’s day, December 13th. The boat broached the wave and the Little Flower was spared from impending disaster. I believe fishermen’s faith in God is tested time and time again. I pray to God to bless our fishermen and keep them safe.

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon January 2013

Update:

Fred Buck Writes-

hi virginia – i know the museum will have some photos to add to your father’s story. was the ‘america’ skipper gil lafford? went aground on ten pound island in 1941? we’ve got quite a few photos of that boat and her crew going back to the 30s when she was swordfishing. also a few of little flower in the 1990s, none as good as the 2 you’ve posted on gmg. if you can let me know the year gamage built the little flower, i’ll do some digging in our files and see what we can share with you. keep on writing! we need you!

fred buck
cape ann museum photo dept

Update 2:

joey -  i posted a reply to virginia’s great piece about her father, michael frontiero.  i should have looked before i leaped, because i found answers to the questions i asked in my files.  gil lafford owned the america in the 30s, but empire fish co. bought it in 1944, and capt. serio owned it in 1948 and 49 when virginia’s dad fished on her.  i’m attaching two short clips from the museum’s "american fisherman" files.  could you add this and the clips to my reply so i don’t look like a bigger idiot than i do in the mirror?  thanks, pal.
infamous

"Atlantic Fisherman" Archive
Gardner Lamson Collectionamerica loss 1949

Fish Tales Of A Gloucester Fisherman

Hi Joey, I recently joined the Gloucester Writers Group.
On Jan. 17th I attended my first meeting, The Inaugural Meeting of
Fish Tales, Live Story Telling. I would like to share my story and pictures
with your readers. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Michael Frontiero 19580001F V Little Flower0001

Fish Tales
My Dad, Mike Frontiero, was a Gloucester Fisherman My Dad had many fish tales to tell. I remember my Dad taking a big piece of paper and with pencil in hand he would draw and explain the process of catching fish to me. He would draw a picture of his boat, the winch, doors and net and explain how the drag net is set by lowering the doors with the net into the ocean. The doors  are at the end of long steel cables attached to the boat and the winch. The net is shaped like a big stocking. The doors keep the top of the stocking open to scoop up the fish. After several hours of towing  the doors and the net are hauled up, closing the doors in the process.  To do this a strong winch coils up the cables. With the doors secured at the side of the boat, the net is then hauled up high above the deck. The bottom of the net is pulled open, like opening a purse, dumping he fish on the deck for sorting. Then it’s all hands on deck, as the junk is thrown back into the ocean. All the ground fish is dressed (guttered) before going down into the fish hold and iced. This process  continues until the decision is made when to bring the fish to market. Whiting is very fragile and had to get to market in two days, When fishing for haddock and cod the trips would last longer.

I never  realize how dangerous my Dad’s occupation could be until one morning my Mom was listening to her ship to shore short wave radio, when she heard the voice of the skipper, Busty Serio “May-Day, May-Day the fishing vessel America was taking on water and sinking.” With her rosary beads in hand later she heard a fishing boat was near by and rescued the crew. My dad was the engineer, and the skipper remained on the boat, pumping the water desperately trying to save the America, until the Coast Guard arrived. They explained to my dad that the America could not be saved and they had to abandon ship. My Dad said as they were leaving he witnessed a huge funnel hole appear and the America was sinking into this hole. The current was so strong the Coast Guard boat was having difficulty from being drawn into this hole.

My dad and the skipper had a new fishing boat built in South Bristol Maine. Harvey Gamage Boatyard was in the process of building a yatch and he accommodated them by turning this into a beautiful fishing boat, as time was money. I remember spending many wonderful weekends in Maine watching the boat building process. Soon the boat was launched and christened “Little Flower: in honor of St. Theresa. My dad was fishing again on the beautiful fishing boat. She was the pride of the Gloucester fishing fleet.

On December 13. I believe the year was 1952. the Little Flower was at sea, when a hugh storm appeared from out of nowhere. My Dad stated the waves were over 12 feet high.  My Dad said a huge wave was heading toward the Little Flower. He and the crew gathered into the pilot house. They were on their knees in front of the little religious shrine. They made a sacred promise to God to never go fishing on  Santa Lucia’s day, December 13th. The boat broached  the wave and the Little Flower was spared from impending disaster.  I believe fishermen’s faith in  God is tested time and time again. I pray to God to bless our fishermen and keep them safe.

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon                                 January 2013