Tag Archives: Virginia McKinnon

A Mother’s Prayers From Virginia McKinnon

Hi Joey, I would like to share this story with you and your readers of “A Mother’s Prayers”.
I am continuing my classes at the Gloucester Veterans Writing Workshop. The facilitator,
Dorothy S. Nelson, has been a wonderful inspiration and teacher to me, as I continue to write
my husband, Robert Hilary McKinnon’s, WW2 war stories. This story was written as a class assignment
on “Returning, Coming Home, Back Home”   after the war in my voice or someone else’s voice.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 1-4pm my husband at age 91 will be one of Cape Ann World War 11 Veterans
honored at the City Hall. I want to thank Jason Grow for his dedication to our veterans with his
Exhibition of Photographs of “Our Greatest Generation.”   

Mother’s Prayers by Robert McKinnon, as told to his wife, Virginia

Mother's Prayers Photo

Returning from the Navy after World War 2 in February 1946, I was sorrowed to find my mother’s health had declined. She had suffered several strokes. She was unable to greet me at the train depot, now weak, and frail. I believe my Mom was also a causality of WW2. My half-brother “Buster,” a Marine, was stationed at Pearl Harbor, I remember, how my Mom cried, when she heard the news of the “Attack of Pearl Harbor”. My Mom would sing to me “I didn’t raise my son to be a solider, I raised him to be my pride and joy.” My half-brother, Woodrow, was drafted. I was drafted and I had no choice, but also to serve my country. Mom cried when I left. A little banner was hung in the window with three stars, three sons in the military. My Dad and sister related to me how my Mom would look at our pictures and her heart would be breaking with worry. She was overcome with grief, more than she could bear. Dad stated Mom spent many hours in church, praying fervently for our safe return. Mom embrace the Catholic faith, receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, same day as my sister Margaret in 1935.

On the living room wall hung a portrait of my Mom, as a young lady, blond, beautiful and angelic. No wonder my Dad fell in love with her. He was just discharged, as a Chief Petty Office, from the Navy after World War 1.

Mom was a widow with three small sons. Dad married her and later her aged parents, my grandparents, Rachel and Gabriel came to live with us. I remember Mom playing hopscotch and jump rope with the neighbor kids on Washington Square. She was always laughing and a very happy, strong person, loving to cook wonderful dinners and dedicating her life to nurture and love all of her family

Mom was bedridden for six years. My Dad had a nurse come daily to care for Mom, while we were all at work. She would laugh, when I hugged her and told her jokes. Her love for me so apparent in her eyes. Secretly, she would ask my sister and niece to invite some nice girls to visit, looking for a companion for me. I believe her goal was to have me married and cared for before she went to

heaven. I had no interest in the girls they invited. Mom suffered several more strokes, losing her speech.

One day while I was walking up Duncan Street on my way to Sterling’s for my “mug-up” coffee break, looking in the window of Johnson’s Insurance office, there she was, the girl of my dreams. It was love at first site. One day I saw her walking home on Middle Street, as I was leaving the YMCA. I was too shy to approach her. Working on the engine of the F/V American Eagle, I inquired to my friend, Peter, “I would like to be formally introduced to the girl in the insurance office.” To my surprise Peter stated “That girl is my niece.” Peter arranged a meeting. Our meeting was magical in April 1953. Soon we were dating and married on Thanksgiving Day the same year. During our courtship, we visited my Mom often. After the wedding our first stop was to visit my mother. She was bedridden with no speech. Looking at me and my new bride, my mother cried tears of joy, as her prayers had been answered. I heard my wife tell my Mom she would take good care of me. I was a lucky man.

A few weeks later, just like on my wedding day, I was walking down the aisle of Saint Ann’s Church. This time following my mother’s casket for my Mom’s Funeral Mass. At age sixty-four my Mom was now at peace.

Yes, as I look at my life today, I realize my mother’s prayers were answered. I just celebrated my 91st Birthday on Halloween, a loving family of seven children, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren at my side at the Gloucester House for a grand celebration. My mother would have been so proud. She had a special love for children. Thanksgiving Day I will celebrate my 62nd Wedding Anniversary. Holidays are so special for family gatherings.

A mother’s love is a precious gift, her prayers are powerful. My Mom’s three sons returned safely from WW2. Now I treasure memories of my angel Mom, so grateful for her care and concern for my well-being and happiness, as I believe she continues to watch over and bless me from her home in heaven.

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon November 2015

Veteran’s Day From Virginia McKinnon

Hi Joey, I have a Veteran’s Day story to share with your readers.
Old photo of Veterans on the Stacy Boulevard is taken from the Gloucester Times.
Anthony Rao has also passed on.
My husband, Robert McKinnon, celebrated his 90th Birthday on Halloween with a
gala party at the Gloucester House.
Submitted by Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon


Going Home- World War II- Robert McKinnon, told to his wife, Virginia

My skipper stated “Bob, if you help me take this LCT (Landing Craft Transport} back to the states, I will have you assigned a rank of Chief Petty Officer.’”  I replied “No way, I have my points for discharge and I am going home.” WW2 ended in September 1945, my time was up in February 1946. I was jumping around the Asiatic Pacific from the Philippines, Hawaii, Gilbert and Mariana Islands. I was in the US Navy stationed as a Motor Machinist Mate Second Class on LCTs and LSTs landing troops and supplies for the battles of Saipan and Tarawa. Witnessing many casualties, so many of my shipmates gone, I never believed I would ever be going home. Never to see my family and Gloucester again.
My journey home was uneventful. As I looked around the Navy ship I was aware of the many enlisted men that did not survive the war and would never be going home. I had witnessed thousands of Marines, Navy,  Army and Seabees lost in battle.
Arriving in San Francisco, I was informed my formal discharge would take about a week and I would have to wait in the Fargo Building for my disability and pay. Not willing to wait, I took the first train across country. Very little money for my journey home. In the dining car, I soon ran out of money. I would request a cup of hot water adding ketchup and I would look for a few crackers to sustain me.
Arriving in Gloucester, no one was at the depot to greet me. I carried by back pack and walked home. Savoring every step as I looked at my beautiful Gloucester. In my absence my family moved from Washington Square to Western Avenue, just across the street from the Fishermen’s statue. My mother had suffered a stroke. Before I enlisted I remember her singing to me “I did not raise my son to be a solider, I raised him to be my pride and joy.” Her oldest son, my half-brother, Buster” was stationed in Pearl Harbor at the time of the Attack.  I, her youngest, was away for four years, more worry than my mother could endure. There was no “welcome home party.” My dad had a job waiting for me at his machine shop, Independent Machine Company, as a diesel machinist, repairing the engines on of the many fishing boats. I was so happy and fortunate to be employed.
All my buddies survived World War II. Our reunions were happy times at Good Harbor Beach and at the YMCA. Just walking the boulevard now had special meaning of comrades together again, survivors of World War II and now part of the greatest generation in the history of our country.       

WW2 Comming Home

St. Peter Novena Day 5




Lia Militello, Caterina Cusumano, Giovanna Toromina, Grace Favazza, Rosalie Lioacchino

Each evening during the opening prayer service Rosie Verga, talks about the Children, and how important it is to bring the younger generation to the St. Peter Novena.  Rosies words are so very true.  Our children are the future of the Feast of St. Peter, and of all our deep rooted Sicilian Traditions.  It is vital to the tradition they we expose them and keep them involved.  Last night two little blessings, Dante Linquata and Phoenix Curcuru entertained us with their dancing and sweet voices of laughter as they played together during the rosary.


Click see more for photos from last night Novena Read more

The Window Of My World From Virginia McKinnon

My View Picture

My front door is a large French door with three panels. The middle panel opens on to my Dream Deck. This large elegant French door is the window of my world. I see the city spread out in front of  me, as my home faces the west, the rising sun from the east shines upon the city and the inner harbor lighting everything up to great splendor. My home sits up high on a hill and the view is spectacular. I love  to watch the fishing boats going in and out of the harbor. Sea gulls fill the sky following the boats in anticipation of getting a free meal. I look across the skyline. The majestic City Hall clock tower commands the city skyline. 

I see the  twin blue towers of Our Lady of Good Voyage Church and the statue of Our Lady. At night her lamp is lit to guide the fishing boats to shore. I see the shining steeple of St. Ann’s Church, like a sword piercing the morning sky and steeple  at St. John’s Church. All the steeples fill me with awe that God is present watching over our beautiful city. I look at the very busy fish pier where many people are at work and large trailer trucks carrying cargos of fresh fish. Many boats are tied up to the piers. I look across the harbor and I can see Stage Fort Park and the weather tower at Stillington Hall. I find myself looking into the city for the house, where I was born, the places I visited in my childhood and where I grew up.

Later in my day, I look forward to the beautiful sunsets, the brilliant colors across the evening sky. I love to sit on my deck, my favorite place in my rocking chair. I hear the birds in flight looking for their resting places for the night. Later still the city before me lights up in golden hues, the fish pier appears so magical with all its lights causing shimmering, sparkling lights across the harbor reflecting the shadows of the fishing boats.

The city lights  are like jewels. I look up at the sky on a starlit night. The moon and all the stars are visible to me.  I can rock in my chair and never tire of magical view. I feel so at peace with God and my world as I meditate. Truly I am so blessed. My wealth is overwhelming, as I thank God for this wonderful gift. 

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon  

Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon With The Story On The Mother of Grace Club

Virginia Frontiero McKinnon submits-

Hi Joey, Your readers may enjoy my story on the Mother of Grace Club.

Notice in the pictures on the right your great-grandmother, Eleanora Gagliano, is carrying the banner. True faith and dedication from women. On Sunday night even

Senator Bruce Tarr and Mayor Caroline Kirk usually join us for the evening procession.

Love your blog, Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Mother of Grace Club

Picture Mother of Gace Club New
Frances Aiello, “Zia Francisca” came to visit my mother, Mary Frontiero, one afternoon, shortly after World War 2 began. She was frantic. “Mary,” she stated, “What can we do? My son and relatives have been called away to fight in the war. I am so worried.” My mother had three brothers and many relatives in military service. After much discussion they agreed. “We can pray.” She invited people to her home to pray the rosary. Soon her home was not large enough for the large crowds of people attending. She went to Mayor Weston U. Friend. “There is an abandoned little building on 48 Washington Street,” she stated. “We need a place to pray for the safe return of our loved ones.” 5,675 men and women served in the military from Gloucester, 22% of the total population. 40% of the male population, probably more than any other city large or small in the country. 114 were killed in action. After much persuasion Mayor Friend agreed to give her a 100 year lease on the building on August 15, 1944 for one dollar, but no money would be available for repairs. This building had been used by the city as “The Continuation School” Students not interested in furthering their education were sent there after grammar school. The boys learned basic skills of carpentry, electoral repairs and plumbing. The girls learned homemaking skills. The club was chartered May 26, 1953 as the Mother of Grace Society.
This dedicated little group of mostly Italian women had bake sales, pizza sales, raffles, and recruited more members. Working diligently, one project at a time. Soon they raised enough money for a new foundation, roof, bathroom, windows, siding, wiring and plumbing. One of the foundling members, Dominia Cianciola, ordered a statue of Our Blessed Mother of Grace from Italy, donating this in honor of her son, serving in the Navy in Pacific Theater. Sewing committees decorated the altar with beautiful ornate trimmings, curtains for the windows and a beautiful banner. Soon the members had a very comfortable, spiritual place to pray. Daily they gathered praying the rosary fervently for the safe return of their loved ones. Their motto was and always will be: “Pray for Peace“. When you sing you pray twice, Very beautiful Italian hymns were sung, Everyone of the members loved ones came safely home from the war. They were all spared, I believe from the power of prayer. After the War the club celebrated a fiesta in thanksgiving to our Blessed Mother of Grace for her prayerful intercession in the miracle of all the members loved ones in
the military service, returning safely from the war.
Mother of Grace Club Page 2
At our first fiesta program I introduced Mayor Friend and Pastor Maurice O’Brien, who commended the ladies on their extraordinary accomplishments, their faith and dedication. On September 8th our Blessed Mother’s birthday, the day begins with a mass at Holy Family Parish, St. Ann’s Church followed by a Continental breakfast upstairs in the club house. In the afternoon the Benediction ceremony is celebrated by the Holy Family Parish, St. Ann’s pastor. A religious procession follows with a marching band, the statue of Our Blessed Mother of Grace carried by four men, children and club members chanting “Viva Beda Madre di Gracia” in celebration. The procession stops at the WW2 Ward 2 Memorial on Middle Street, the last one in city, formally maintained by the club. A child dressed in Army and one in Navy uniform shoot off toy guns and the band plays taps for the fallen soldiers. The procession continues down Western Ave. Rogers St, Main Street, Washington Street and back to the clubhouse . Many spectators pin money on the banners, as donations to the club. Many dedicated volunteers help, Joe Novello provides the electrical work, setting up all the lights for the fiesta. I formed a Junior Mother of Grace Club. We marched in parades in our uniforms and also did fund raising. Frances Aiello also organized many bus trips. We went on pilgrimages to Canada and New York visiting beautiful churches.

The Mother of Grace Fiesta’s are still being celebrated today. A nine day novena always proceeds the event. Daily rosary at the club house in the afternoon and a group of Italian ladies pray the rosary again in the evening. The program has grown to a four day event. Rosary in the afternoon and musical entertainment in the evening. The program ends with a raffle and a candle light procession, where Our Lady in marched again up to the Legion and back to Her place on the club altar. Also novenas are celebrated in the month of May. Gus MacIntosh, in memory of his grandmother, Rose Ciulla, continues to help Katie Fontana, the dedicated club president, who is fulfilling her promise to her mother, Jenny Giacalone, the former club guardian, to never abandon the Mother of Grace Club and their devotion and gratitude to our Blessed Mother for her intercession to her beloved son, Jesus, to bring Peace to Our World. Many new members were enrolled his year as the club continues to be stronger than ever, praying for world peace.
Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon September 2013

Click This Text For The Full Sized Slide Show

Mother of Grace Club, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

While the Saint Joseph’s novenas pray for the safety of our fishermen, the Mother of Grace Club prays for peace.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1243414&dest=-1]


Celebration from Virginia McKinnon

Hi Joey, Robert and I are celebrating our 60 Wedding Annivesary next week.
I would like to share our story with your readers. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Wedding Dancing0001

Our Love Story
Our story began in April of 1953. Bob was a diesel machinist at the Independent Machine Co. on Wharf St. in Gloucester.  Bob was repairing the engine of the fishing vessel, American Eagle. Peter was the engineer. Bob and Peter were old high school friends. In their conversation Peter just happened to inquired “ Bob,  Do you have a girlfriend?  Bob answered “Peter, I’ll tell you a secret, I was walking by Johnson’s Insurance office, on Duncan Street on my way to Sterling’s to have my “mug up” (coffee break) I happened to look in the window and fell in love at first sight with the Italian young lady working there. Sometimes I hurry home from work and to get cleaned up, just to stand outside the YMCA to see her walk by on her way home from work and my heart just skips a beat. I can’t find the courage to talk to her.” Peter stated. “That young lady is my niece! She lives just next door to me on Gould Court. Would you like to be introduced to her?”  Bob was so surprised and answered in the affirmative. Peter replied “ I will ask her to baby-sit for my son on Monday night at 7 pm and you can visit at quarter of seven.  I will be happy to  introduce you to her.”  Quickly the news spread of this impending romantic encounter and the family was so excited, but very careful to keep this secret from the young lady. I arrived promptly at 7 pm to baby-sit for little Sandy, when my Uncle Peter informed me that his good friend, Bob, just happened to come by for coffee. “We will not be going out” he stated, “but would you like to join us for coffee? .”  After having coffee, I got up to leave and Bob followed me. “Would you like to see my new car?” He stated. There was this beautiful 1952 Buick, hard-top, convertible. bright yellow with a black top. The car had big fins in back and lots of chrome. I had never seen such a beautiful car. Bob asked if I would like to go for a ride tomorrow night and maybe see a movie. Of course I could not refuse this offer. So the next night we had our first date. A few days later Bob came by the insurance office at 5 o’clock to offer me a ride home from work and my mother invited him to have dinner with my family. We always had good Italian food. My brother was away at college, but my younger sisters enjoyed his company. Soon Bob was having dinner with us almost daily.
Bob proposed to me in June. at my cousin‘s wedding. Since I was the maid of honor, Bob was asked to be the best man at the wedding.  Early one Saturday morning Bob came knocking at my  door at 7 am., We were all asleep.  My Dad said “You had better marry this guy, so we can get some peace and quiet.”

We were married on Thanksgiving Day, as my uncles were all fisherman and I knew this was one day they would be on shore to attend my wedding. We had a large Italian wedding at St. Ann’s Church, after the ceremony I requested the limo to make our traditional trip to “Little Italy” down Commercial Street and around the Fort Square, horns blasting all the way in celebration. All the wedding party and guest joined us. Our reception was in Manchester.

We went to Washington DC on our honeymoon. We were lucky to see Frances Langford at a nightclub, as Bob remembered seeing her, when he was in the Navy during WW2.  As he was walking across the airfield on the island of Tarawa in the Asiatic Pacific,  a jeep stopped, asking direction to the mess hall. There was Frances Langford, Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, and Carol Lombard. 

We are so lucky to be having a early celebration of our 60th wedding Anniversary with our party at the Gloucester House on June 8th with seven children, eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and their families and our families and friends all attending.. 

Still together and still lucky in love.    Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon  June 2013

Easter Parade 1960 From Virginia McKinnon

Hi Joey, Do your readers remember the Easter Parades on the Boulevard?

My family won a prize in 1960. Pictured are Virginia (Frontiero) and Robert McKinnon and our children, twins in carriage, Roberta and Regina, Lola, Mary-Ellen and Hilary.

I made the matching outfits for my two oldest children. Later we were blessed with two more children, Michael and Carol. We will be celebrating our 60th Wedding Anniversary this year.

Happy Easter.

easter Paade 19600001 (2)