Morton Kondracke is known as a no-nonsense, independent-thinking journalist who, in addition to writing, appears on shows like The McLaughlin Group and Fox's The Beltway Boys. But through his wife his life has been touched by Parkinson's, a disease that affects over a million Americans. Kondracke's book on the subject, Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson's Disease, is published by Ballantine and is now available in paperback.
You start your book at a point where you're totally focused on yourself.
I had dreams of glory. I thought maybe I should marry a Supreme Court Justice's granddaughter or something like that, and that this would be my companion up the ladder. I met this woman, Millicent Martinez, who is beautiful, olive skinned, self-assured, smart, and streetwise. But poor, working her way through college. I was smitten, but I thought, "This woman doesn't fit into my life's plan." We went skiing one time at a bunny slope near Chicago, and she crashed into me. I thought, I want a woman who is at home at Aspen. I don't want somebody who can't even negotiate a bunny slope. So I contrived a breakup with her.
We didn't see each other for four months, but one day, in late May, 1967, I went to the beach, and there I saw Milly with some boyfriend of hers. I sort of skulked around so she wouldn't see me. The next thing you know I was agreeing to take her to the movies. Then we're leaving her apartment and it's raining. We're under an umbrella and we're kissing under a street lamp. And I said, okay, God, I give up. This could never have happened but by God's design. This was meant to be.
This is a story of Milly's journey, but it's also a story of your journey.