Secret to a successful marriage
The conventional wisdom about the success of the couple's 48-year marriage is that opposites attract. The story goes that Michael is serious, Kitty is funny and outspoken. Michael's frugal, Kitty loves to shop. Michael is "the most positive thinker I have ever known," Kitty has said, while she's battled depression for much of her life. But Michael says the idea is overblown.
"I think the notion that we're polar opposites is kind of a bit silly," he said. "We have a lot of common interests. It is true that I am more frugal than Kitty. She could revive the U.S. economy single-handedly if she wanted to do it," he jokes. For her part, Kitty said, "I think the major reason our marriage has lasted close to 50 years is the mutual respect we have for each other and the passion we both share. We also have a lot of fun and have been blessed with three fine children and eight grandchildren who keep us going all the time."
Their three children are John, 53, Andrea, 45, and Kara, 43. John, Kitty's son from her first marriage to John Chaffetz, is a former actor who appeared in Jaws 2. He goes by the last name Dukakis. He now works for Hill Holliday, a Boston advertising agency. John's stepbrother, Jason Chaffetz, represents Utah's third district as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. Andrea is a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio. Kara is the associate director of the Youth Data Archive at Stanford University's John W. Gardner Center near San Francisco.
Michael and Kitty still enjoy good health. Michael walks to work every day from the couple's home in Brookline, a four-mile round trip, and Kitty stays fit with Pilates. "I'm married to the best-looking Social Security recipient in America," Michael said.
Politics is still never far from the couple's minds. Michael has knocked on doors for his son-in-law, Kara's husband, David Onek, who is running for district attorney of San Francisco. The Dukakises supported President Obama in 2008 and continue to be strong supporters.
"Look, I think he's done a hell of a job under very difficult circumstances," Michael said. "He's got a Congress now which is apparently more interested in defeating him than in reviving the nation. I have a lot of respect for him. He inherited a mess. I'll do whatever I can for him."
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Kitty Bennett is a news researcher and writer based in St. Petersburg, Fla.