Her real name was Frances, a name that, in her opinion, lacked glamour. So she changed it to “Toni” as in “Antoinette” as in “Marie Antoinette”.
Several years ago, I published an e-book, “Bebina Bunny’s Cabinet of Curiosities”, and dedicated it to my mom:
“My mom came to visit my first year in Italy. The situation was stressed. Difficult. Weathered.
She wrote a bunch of postcards and asked me to mail them for her. Highly edited, she’d left out all the horrible stuff and wrote only the good. And in a good way. From the postcards you’d think that she’d had a wonderful time.
Aesthetics is a matter of selection.
“French Provincial” for my mom meant elegance and good taste. She’d read that Marie Antoinette’s bathtub was gold. Not being able to afford one herself, she spray painted ours. Only the gold eventually turned green. And so did our bottoms every time we took a bath.
Aesthetics begin at home. That is, the formation of personal taste begins with our mothers–the way they feed us, the way they dress us, the way they decorate our home. Childhood, like Proust’s madeleines, follows us forever. That’s why this book is dedicated to my mom.“
Only now do I fully realize just how much of my artistic training came from my mom and not from formal art training. She was the one who taught me: if you don’t like the way something looks, just paint it!