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Geraldine Ferraro

'The real news of a year'

'The real news of a year'

Last week, I was listening to NPR and heard a reference to the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, a toxic gas leak that killed thousands and injured more than 500,000. I thought to myself: "Then it's 30 years since my grandfather died." Maybe most people would not connect those two things, but they had been linked indelibly in my mind by my father, Theo Lippman Jr., in one of the eponymous columns that appeared twice-weekly in the Baltimore Sun from Jan. 1, 1976, until Sept. 14, 1995.

On Saturday, my father died — 30 years and one day after his father's death. Perhaps the timing is just a morbid coincidence, but I immediately thought of this Jan. 2, 1985...