Talking trash with Mike Dukakis

I meet Mike Dukakis at 8 a.m. at his home in Brookline, where he and Kitty have lived since 1971. He’s wearing white New Balance sneakers and flat-front khaki pants. He’s carrying a black bag with a Harvard Law School insignia on the side, from which he pulls a plastic bag. It’s faded and appears to have been reused so many times that it’s hard to tell the name of the store. Amazingly, it has no holes. As we walk, he will fill it up—twice—with trash.

Since his failed bid for president in 1988, Dukakis—who turns 82 on November 3—has focused on urban-planning issues, serving on Amtrak’s board of directors. He’s now a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University. He is also known to keep a can of paint in his basement to cover up graffiti he spots around Brookline. Today, as we stroll through the Emerald Necklace, we chat about his neighbors (“a young couple, both doctors, he’s Vietnamese American, she’s Korean American, two delicious five-year-old twin girls, Kitty is their third grandmother”) and his lingering celebrity (“If they’re under 30, they have no idea who I am. It doesn’t bother me at all”). All the while, he’s filling his bag with the things others have carelessly left behind.

Boston Magazine