I used to listen for hours to the Sunday afternoon/evening discussions of L. Grampa (Papa/Paul), my Omi and Opi (Rose and Otto Wilde), Opi's twin brother Onkel Willie (William Wilde), his wife Tante Vickie (Victoria), their brother Onkel Emil (Emil Wilde) and his wife Tante Lieschen (Liesel) at Onkel Emil's dining room table, while drawing or coloring in the front room. I'd listen to L. Grampa and his closest friend Onkel Herbert toss around ideas till all hours of the night in the living room of our house on Brohl Street. I'd fall asleep on the floor of my bedroom, listening from under the door to L. Grampa and Uncle Wilmer, or this other friend of his--a brilliant mathemetician, in the kitchen of our house on Susilane.
L. Grandma always hung around with Tante Lieschen and our favorite great-aunt, Tante Frieda (Wilde) Dressel, when we were at Onkel Emil's or at Tante Frieda's house in Detroit. Onkel Alfred Dressel, her husband, was gruff, and smoked cigars downstairs while the rest of us would stick around the dining room and kitchen for the great food, cookies, and table games. There were always fresh flowers on the table. When Onkel Albert would come upstairs, turn on the TV, and watch a ball game, he rarely talked. He always kissed us goodbye, though. His breath smelled like Sen-Sens, and I think he let us help ourselves to the tiny licorice squares when we were there. We could smell the Italian confectionary on the corner from her house, and Tante Frieda (her name means "peace") sometimes gave us money to go get some pistachio, black cherry, vanilla spumoni--a child's fantasy request. Mmm . . . Alinosi's.