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
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