Mike Dukakis still remembers the scene like it was yesterday. As a young state lawmaker in 1965, he visited the Fernald school in Waltham and saw a room packed with dozens of severely disabled kids. Many of them were naked, some sitting in their own waste, the stench overpowering. Others just rocked back and forth.
Memories of that visit stuck with him after he first became governor. Dukakis proudly recalls signing a consent decree to help resolve lawsuits filed over conditions at the Fernald and similar schools.
He’ll turn 80 on Nov. 3, and he’s still trying to right the wrongs he witnessed five decades ago. Dukakis still works year-round as a professor — at Northeastern University for nine months, and the University of California for the other three. But he’s also busy trying to drum up support for one of his favorite causes, the New England Center for Children.