Genetic Hand-Me-Downs | Greg O'Brien

August 13, 2014 6:36 PM

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Genetic Hand-Me-Downs | Greg O'Brien

My grandmother, Loretta Sinnott Brown, called me "snippy snooper" as a young boy because I was always "snooping around," asking too many questions, forever wanting to know the minutia of life. She must have had a premonition that I'd become a journalist. She and my maternal grandfather, George Brown -- Manhattan born, an earnest man who had owned several Upper East Side brownstones and munificently forgave missed rents during the Depression with a heart of the size of SoHo -- lived in Westchester County in a classic red brick two-story home, a short walk from Rye Beach on Long Island Sound at the mouth of New York Harbor. We affectionately called my grandfather, "Daddy George."

Once or twice a week, my mother, Virginia, took me and two of my sisters over to their house. Grandma was petite, short, and thin, a woman of incalculable resolve -- perseverance that she clearly passed down to my mother. Daddy George was handsome, gentle, and erudite, an intellectual in his day -- ...

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