Wanda discovered her pacing in the living room. When my mother described her restlessness and discomfort in such a residence, Wanda advised her to go upstairs and sleep with her mother, Mama Toscanini. The only problem, Wanda warned, was Mama's loud snoring. But you can combat that, she counseled, by making a little clicking sound with your tongue. And so, my mother followed Wanda's admonition and crept into Mama Toscanini's bed where, sure enough, the woman snored loudly, and sure enough, the tongue clicking temporarily halted the irritating noise.
The next morning Maestro asked her how she had slept. Always forthright, my mother recounted the travails, and travels, of the previous evening: "I slept and I clicked, I clicked and I slept."
Maestro listened intently and then replied, "You should have come into my bed."
What Maestro didn't find charming in the least, however, was one particular Saturday afternoon years later on the occasion of an NBC Symphony concert where the program's concluding symphonic piece concludes with a soaring and thunderous crescendo, followed by a long rest of silence, then one final blast from the entire orchestra, and then at last, total silence. The problem that one afternoon, was that some uneducated, musically illiterate, utterly insensitive, and moronic bore exploded with applause and screamed a giant "BRAVO!" at the precise moment of the penultimate silence, thereby destroying the entire dramatic effect of the finale. At his Riverdale home that evening after the concert, it was all Maestro Toscanini could talk about; he was raving mad.
The end of this story may now be told as Maestro will never know that the culprit whose neck he would have most certainly wrung sat but a few seats away from him at his own dining room table: Gitta Gradova. Wanda, who had sat next to my mother at the concert, and my mother were the only people who knew the truth. Like two school girls, it was all they could do to keep from laughing.