One of my earliest memories of being the oldest (while my mother was providing me with seemingly endless siblings) was visiting my Aunt Martha Virginia Lofman in her Washington Street townhouse in Wilmington, Delaware. An unmarried lady inner-city school teacher, my great-aunt tolerated no nonsense, but she had a twinkle in her eye and lots of adventures to cram into a stay with her. She tied my pigtails too tight, but she had just the right phone book to sit me on at dinnertime (lamb chops, fresh peas, raspberry ice (sorbet to us now, I suppose).
After dinner, a rock on the porch, nods to her neighbors, watching city buses go by - a real treat for a country girl, and my own bedroom overlooking Washington Street.
Her house smelled of fine old wood, and furniture polish, and she clunked away on her old upright piano in the room at the bottom of the spiral stairs.