Interviewee: Mary Nix
Interviewer: Virginia Webb
Date: September 2, 2004

Description: Mary Nix grew up in Gordon County, Georgia during the late 1930s and 1940s. She started work in the School Lunch Program in the ninth grade, washing pots and pans at her high school. After graduating she went on to become School Food Service Supervisor for Gordon County, and later, after graduating from the University of Georgia in 1969, she became Bartow County’s first School Food Service Director. She worked for Georgia’s Department of Education for a number of years and then served as Assistant Director of School Food Services in Cobb County Georgia, where she resides. Nix was President of the American School Food Service Association from 1981 – 1982.

Virginia Webb: Today is Friday, September 24, 2004 and we’re in Kennesaw, Georgia, interviewing Mary Nix. And Mary, I want to start out by asking you if you could tell us a little bit about where you grew up and, and kind of how you managed to get into child nutrition, but start out telling us where you grew up.

Mary Nix: Well I’m just delighted ya’ll have come to Kennesaw. I grew up in north Georgia, in Gordon County. It was a rural area at the time. I attended a very small school; there were 325 kids in grades one through twelve. There were four in my graduating class. I tell everybody I was in the top ten ’cause I don’t want to sound conceited. I have been involved in the child nutrition program since I was in the ninth, well actually before the ninth grade, because my best friend’s mother managed the school nutrition program back during the WPA days. She would cook soup in the basement and bring it upstairs and serve it in the classroom. And then we got barracks, Army barracks. I mean, man, we were up town because we had these Army barracks. She had a staff and it was a split-session school. Do you know what that is?

VW: No, tell me.

MN: Well, it was a rural farming area raising primarily cotton. We would be off in the summertime for the farmers to plant the crops in the spring, and then later in the summer we would be out for the farmers to pick the cotton. During those six or eight weeks during the summer, depending on the weather, we would have school. And farmers would bring their fresh produce, excess that they didn’t need at home, and they would bring it to school for us to serve in the School Nutrition Program. And since I went home with my best friend at least one day a week, I went down to the lunchroom to wait until the ladies got finished. They were paid by the day, not the hour, so they worked until the job was done. And if somebody brought in turnip greens and green beans and whatever else, they had to be fixed that day, so they might work until five or six o’clock at night. And of course, if I’m down there I’m going to have to work too, so I guess that was my early days in the School Nutrition Program. But, when I was in the ninth grade, 1950, I started washing pots and pans for my lunch. These were not ordinary pans; they were not the stainless steel kind, they were those little blue steel pans. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to get that peanut butter bars, or the apple cobbler or the macaroni and cheese off of those blue steel pans. I thought I never would get big enough to serve on the serving line; the next year I did. I got to serve on the serving line. The last two years I was in high school I kept the records for the principal; that was the way I earned my lunch. And I guess I just kind of evolved from there, but those were my early days in the school nutrition program and we just thought it was wonderful. They could cook the best rolls, but they only did it about once every two weeks because they had to mix them up by hand.

VW: Well what other, what kind of equipment did they have in that, your early school?

MN: Oh we had lots, we had lots of good stuff, especially in the barracks. I don’t remember much about that basement, but I do remember the barracks. We had a huge stove. When the farmers brought in enough wood, we would use wood in that stove. And they didn’t bring enough wood, then we had to buy coal and somebody had to go to town to get it. I was down there one day just before serving time and something happened. The stovepipe fell and soot came down all over everything. Do you know that principal wouldn’t delay lunch, we just sort of [makes blowing noise] and kept right on serving. I don’t guess we poisoned any kids, but I will never forget the day the stovepipe fell.

VW: Okay, so that kind of tells us about your earliest recollections of school nutrition. Well, what did you do once you got out of high school?

MN: Well, we didn’t have enough money to go to college so I took a business course, but I still liked the idea of serving kids. When they decided to hire a supervisor in Gordon County, the principal for whom I’d worked called and said, “Mary, would you be interested in the job if they don’t require a degree? Now I know they’ll require, if they will approve this, they will require that you go back to school and earn your college degree.” I did not know it was going to take fifteen years, but I agreed and I was their first supervisor up in Gordon County. I was younger than some of the manager’s grandchildren. They kind of felt sorry for me; they nurtured me and helped me along until it was probably one of the best four years I’ve ever spent. But I learned a lot that first four years. Sarah Johnstone from the state staff was not real thrilled that I didn’t have a degree. In fact, my only qualifications were that I knew how to keep the records and I knew how to wash pots and pans. But I’d learn, I told them, and I did, I really did learn. She said, “When are you going to college?” I said, “Oh, I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it much.” She said, “Come on, I graduated from the Woman’s College at Milledgeville. I can get you in down there.” Because you see, when you have four in your graduating class it’s not an accredited school, and they weren’t, nobody was real thrilled about taking me. They really didn’t care that I was trying real hard. So she took a day off from work, took me to Milledgeville, and outtalked them. Convinced them to take me for one summer on trial. I had Chemistry that year; I had not had Chemistry before, and that instructor really didn’t care that I hadn’t had Chemistry. I made a C and I was proud of it. But she really did just take me down there and got me started.

VW: Okay, and then were you still working while you were taking the college courses, at the same position?

MN: Yeah, oh yeah, yes. Well, at that time I was. I worked up there for four years, took classes, after they accepted me at the Woman’s College, then the University of Georgia would let me come to night classes. You know, they thought it would be alright I reckon. And then, Gene got a job in Marietta. I had to leave my daddy and move down here. That’s when I was asked to be the manager of Sprayberry High School. When the principal, when I was talking to the principal I said, “Now look, I can keep the records. Surely I can do it for one school, I’ve been doing it for ten. I can buy the food and plan the menus. I’ve learned a whole lot in four years, but I can’t cook.” He said, “It won’t matter; Ms. Bessie can cook anything.” So he hired me knowing that I couldn’t cook anything. I learned a lot that year; I really learned a lot that year. I also learned Ms. Bessie wasn’t going to make any rolls too. I really did. We were going to feed fifty teachers. I’d said a whole lot about those fifty teachers and about the school-made rolls. About nine o’clock I said, “Ms. Bessie, you better make those rolls.” She said, “I ain’t never made no rolls and I ain’t a startin’ now.” My first thought was, ‘Well, I’ll just have to tell her she has to.’ I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t cook. So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just go to the grocery store; I can buy fifty rolls.’ I thought, ‘I can’t do that, I’ve said too much about school way rolls’, so I had to do it. I found this recipe; it sounded like a whole lot. I cut it in half thank God. I found this mixer sitting on the floor over there. All we had up in Gordon County sat on the table. It was biggest thing I ever saw. But I remember how I told everybody to make rolls now. You know, it’s like going from telling to doing, there’s a whole lot of difference. I knew I had to gather up my stuff, weigh and measure, did all that, put it in that mixer. It was so hot in that kitchen, no fan, no air conditioner, no nothing. I turned that mixer on. I knew without a doubt, I could tell when it got to look like bubble gum and it cleaned the sides of the bowl. I turned around and it wasn’t long that stuff was coming up out of that pan over the sides, down in the floor. I cut that mixer off and I cleaned that up hoping nobody would see it, and then I went and turned that mixer back on because it certainly stuck to everything. It didn’t clean the bowl up a bit. I started putting tomato in and cucumber in and cantaloupe seeds, stuff in that galvanized garbage can. Five times I turned off that mixer and cleaned up the mess and put it all in that galvanized garbage can and put the lid on it. Prettiest rolls you ever seen. I made up thirteen hundred rolls to feed fifty teachers. I rolled out rolls ’till I thought my arm was going to drop off and I put the rest of it in the garbage can, put the lid on it. Well, quiet dignity of the, serenity of the dining room. Fifty teachers, twenty-five of them sitting down, twenty-five in line. Do you know what it sounds like when a galvanized garbage can lid hits the floor, and out comes all of this dough with all that other stuff in it right in front of the teachers? Till this day they still ask me about the day I made rolls at school. But it was a good year, I learned a lot that year. I learned a whole lot that year. I think I probably was a better person when I finished that year. But after that, after I finished that year, I decided, well maybe I needed to do something else, so I left child nutrition programs for about a year. Then Josephine Martin calls up and says, “They’re offering a scholarship at Morris Brown to a food service person. Why don’t you go over there and apply?” “Why, I don’t think I could.” “Oh yes you can. You’re planning to go to Georgia State, you just might as well save your money. Now come on, we’ll go over there for lunch.” I didn’t go that time, but then I got my bill from Georgia State. I thought, ‘This is pretty stupid’, so I applied at Morris Brown. I got the scholarship and took a job managing high school; I was there two days a week and went to school three days a week. I learned the benefits of a good work schedule with good directions that year; it was a real learning experience. But participation that year went from like 35% to 78%. I don’t know whether they were looking for this strange woman or whether they liked the food. But folks were saying nice things about the school nutrition program and everybody felt good about it, and we broke even. So all of those on-hand experiences have provided me with what I think is a good base for being a supervisor/director kind of person. I was Bartow County’s first director. I don’t know how it is about this first business but I seem to get it.

VW: What year did you go to Bartow County?

MN: I graduated in 1969 finally, and then. I got my degree, now I can be certified; I was so proud. That was 1969 I went to Bartow County and it was that year that I decided that I really liked the school nutrition program, but maybe somewhere else. And it was toward the end of that year Dr. Martin called up and said, “Mary, have you considered working for the State Department of Education.” “Well no, but I will real quick.” She said, “Well, I can’t guarantee anything but you might want to apply”, and I did. I was on the state staff for four years, which was wonderful. I got to travel all over the state really, because I worked with equipment and non-food assistance and all that, and met some of the most wonderful people. I won’t ever forget going out to this little rural school early in the morning and they were making blueberry muffins for breakfast, and they literally had the oven door propped up with this piece of stove wood. But those were the prettiest muffins and the happiest kids, and the staff was so pleased and so excited. I thought, ‘Golly, this is where I need to be’; I thoroughly enjoyed it. And then I went to a school down, out in another rural area where they were serving liver and onions. I thought, ‘They’re just doing that for me, those kids aren’t going to eat that.’ Well I was wrong, they really ate it, and they were good too. I just, they just had good food; it was wonderful. You know, I just wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. And then I went to a high school where, you know, we talked a lot, we began to talk about not having as much fat and stuff. So I went to this high school and they were serving lima beans. Had lots of choices for the high school kids, but those kids were taking those lima beans and they were eating them! I mean that’s unheard of! So finally I thought I’d find out how. So I asked, I said, “I sure would like to have a recipe for those beans; they’re good. I ate some. I’d like to have that recipe.’ And she said, “Bessie made them.” So I went over there, I said, “Ms. Bessie, I’d like the recipe for those beans.” She said, “Can’t tell you.” I said, “Oh come on, tell me, those are the best, I believe those are the best lima beans I’ve ever had.” “I can’t tell you.” I said, “Come on Bessie.” I figured out then, you know, something. I said, “Come on, let’s go in the storage room and we’ll shut the door, and then you can whisper it; I won’t tell a soul.” So we went in the storage room, we shut the door and she said, “I brought some fatback from home.” I didn’t say a word; they were good beans. But as you can see, I’ve had a good time. Then I left state staff and came back to Cobb County. That’s where I lived. I came back as Assistant Director because my best friend was going to retire. I came back as Assistant Director and was there for twenty years, trying to take what I’d learned in all of these other situations and put it together in a program where we could meet the food needs of young people. And we did; we had lots of choices. We had high schools with one or two maybe free lunches that were serving 75% of the kids with, I mean, complete meals.

VW: That’s great, that’s great.

MN: So, and the managers understood how to talk about productivity, they understood how to calculate cost and, in essence, they knew how to run a business. You see we had gone, we had gone from a program back when I first started where we were talking about serving a third of the child’s nutrition needs, but we did it based on foods, and a list of foods. We had from the federal government a list of Vitamin A rich foods and Vitamin C rich foods, and we were to serve these Vitamin A rich foods twice a week and the Vitamin C rich foods about five times a week. And then we would do our purchase journal according to the category which the food was, and we did the costing that way. We took great pride in serving food. It was not until the war on waste happened when one of the very fine Senators decided that he didn’t like beets and they served it on his plate that we decided, that they decided well, we better do something about this, so we started the Offer vs. Serve. Unfortunately, a lot of people used that to make money because the kids wouldn’t pick up the foods they didn’t intend to eat. That was not the intent and that was not what we did. We offered lots of choices and we posted signs saying, your seventy-five cents pays for one meat, two fruits and vegetables, bread and milk. And those high school kids, if they paid for it they were going to get it, so it worked. We were very strong on meeting food needs and offering lots of choices, and still breaking even; that was the bottom line.

VW: Well, could you tell us about some of the individuals over the years that served as mentors to you? I think you may have mentioned a few of them already.

MN: Well of course Dr. Martin probably was one of the greatest influences. Thelma Flanagan, Sarah Johnstone, she just absolutely wouldn’t let me quit. And then there have been so many others in various ways that have just been good influences. That have just said, “Now look, this is what you’re going to do, just get busy and do it.”

VW: Okay, you’ve told us about your career and positions that you’ve held, and I know there are two big things that I want to get you to tell us about. One is your experiences as President and working within the American School Food Service Association.

MN: Oh that was fun, I mean that was really fun, because I had the opportunity to meet with the school nutrition people across the nation, and invariably there was just an overall enthusiasm and pride in serving young people. I mean, that was just really a special thread that ran across the nation. My theme for that year was, ‘The Eighties, a Decade for Winning’, because I believed that we were beginning a new era in the school nutrition program. One that we might even say we were at the crossroads; we were going to have to decide if we were a food program or nutrition program. And so what we tried to do during that year was to spread enthusiasm for serving young people, pride in the profession, encouraging people to learn wherever they are. It doesn’t matter as long as you started where you are and continue to learn. And then we were, it was so great to see people sharing and caring and doing those kinds of things. It was during that year that we had a long-range planning conference. I think it was probably the first time that a group of leaders sat down and decided where they thought they wanted to be five years from now, and come up with a five year plan so that each President wouldn’t have to, would not have to come up with a theme and all of the supporting things that sifted down through the state and local. With this five-year plan we were able to have a plan, master plan with benchmarks each year, and it really did work out well. We saw some unity, we saw state organizations and local organizations buying into it and planning. That was the year that we had a long-range planning conference where, we called it the ‘Wisdom of Williamsburg’, where the Institute, plans for the Institute was finalized I think. And then we had a program for our food service assistants called ‘The Heart of the Program Award’, where we were recommending that food service assistants, those that really made a difference in the school nutrition program, were recognized across the country. So it was a great year, it was a good time to see what all areas of the country were doing and their commitment to the young people.

VW: And where was the convention held your year?

MN: It was Atlanta; my convention was in Atlanta, just next door. Which, I think it only happened one or two times in the history of the Association, but there we were talking about the emerging image. We tried to have speakers and workshops that would help people be excited about nutrition, be excited about young people, be excited about customer service, listening to customers and managing good, sound financial programs. It was a great conference and we had lots of fun, including the watermelon cutting in the park.

VW: All right. The other real major thing I wanted you to tell us about was writing this book, I Can Manage, with Jay Caton, so can you tell us about the book came into being, and I want to hear a little about Ms. Jessie.

MN: Well, it was kind of interesting about the book because, in Cobb County where I was director, we had a training program that managers had to progress through before we would consider them to be managers. The last course was Management. And so people started asking for copies of what we did to teach managers how to manage, because they couldn’t understand that our managers knew how to talk about productivity and food costs, and labor costs, and comparing income with expenses. They just didn’t understand that. So I saw Jay Caton, who is a dear friend, and I said, “Jay, people are asking about this book, about this material. I don’t want to put it together for a book. Would you be interested in doing that?” He said, “Well, let me look at.” So he did, he looked at it. And I said, “Now, you’re the one who’s going to have to get it to the publisher. I don’t proofread.” “Well, let me see.” So, he went through and put it in some kind of order and then there came the issue of whose name’s going to be first. I said, “Oh, that will be simple. We’ll just toss a coin, and whoever’s name is first has to proofread it.” We tossed a coin in the lobby of the Chicago Hilton. I prayed the whole time the coin was in the air, ‘Don’t let it be me, don’t let it be me.’ The prayer was answered; Jay’s name is first and he was the one who had to proofread it.

VW: And how did Ms. Jessie come about?

MN: Well Louis Sublette was a dear friend of both of ours. She was President in the early ’70s and Louise always talked about Ms. Jessie, because Louise had a division of a certification program, and she believed that you should take people where they are and have them move along. And so her stories were Ms. Jessie; there really was a Ms. Jessie. And so she talked about how Ms. Jessie started washing dishes without a high school education. She passed her GED and then eventually she started taking some training classes, became a manager, and then actually started college, which is, to me, a tremendous success story. And so we decided that that’s what we would, we would deal with the story of Ms. Jessie, which is in the preface of the book, and then we would have Ms. Jessie’s stories that were not from Ms. Jessie, but it would be better for Ms. Jessie to have said them. And so those are actual stories from the Cobb County schools when I was director, those things really happened in our schools.

VW: Well, it’s just a classic and I picked it up and read some more in it getting ready to come visit you, and it’s something to be so proud of. And really, we appreciate you doing this for the profession, so that’s my little side comment on that. Can you tell us about what changes you’ve seen in the profession over the years?

MN: Oh my. Well, of course I was there when the farmers brought the fresh stuff in and they fixed it, and the employees worked all day for x amount of money. Not by the hour, they just worked until the job was done. Now there’s a very professional training program and people are paid by every minute that they work. I’ve seen us go from serving basically what was available to very scientific nutrition programs where the nutrients are calculated. I’ve seen the potbelly stoves and the pots go to the very modern, instant almost, cooking equipment. I’ve seen dishwashing too, from a three, maybe even a one-compartment sink but we can’t talk about that, a three-compartment sink to the ultramodern dishwashers and the disposable things, the throwaways. I’ve seen from one menu that ‘Thou shalt take’, to the flexibility and the choices that are almost unnumbered because there are so many. But I’ve also seen this same thread of enthusiasm throughout the years when people are serving children their food. It’s the most personal thing that they get at school. We’ve noticed that children in trouble will talk to managers or their staff before they’ll talk to a counselor or a teacher or a principal. Because the managers aren’t threatening, or the staff is not threatening, they don’t have anything to do with grades. But they are very comfortable with them and they’ll talk with them, so we’ve gone from this stage where, you know, you came through like a herd of turtles to a very nurturing stage. And I hope we don’t lose that in the next few years, because that’s important. We’ve seen the school nutrition program go from feeding the hungry – because they were hungry, back in the WPA days – to a program where we’re serving like a restaurant. I hope we don’t lose that fact that we’re now, could be a integral part of what they’re teaching in the classroom. Many school systems function that way, but unfortunately I’m afraid some school systems might not be. But I think it’s essential that we support with the food we serve the things that they’re taught in the classroom.

VW: What do you think has been your most significant contribution to the child nutrition profession?

MN: I’m not sure. I guess if I had to single it out, would be maybe encouraging people to be excited, enthusiastic about their students that they serve, regardless of the age, and the pride in the quality of food that they serve, and their interests in continuing to learn how to do a better job. If I’ve contributed anything I would hope it would be the encouragement to do those things.

VW: Are there any other memorable stories that come to mind that you would like to tell us about today?

MN: Oh, I don’t know. There are lots of stories. I’m not sure.

VW: Well, we’d like to hear some of these.

MN: I guess I can think about the time the editor of the Atlanta Constitution was coming to lunch when I was manager at North Cobb, and she was going to write a story about the program at North Cobb because we had increased participation so much. Oh, I was proud. And this particular day we were going to, I’m not sure what else we were going to have, but I remember we were going to have parsley potatoes. We had two or three menus going and whatever we were serving the parsley potatoes with, we could manage peeling enough potatoes for that. So we peel these potatoes and we put them in the steamer. We’d done it lots of times and they were just beautiful. This particular time I was sitting out at the edge of the dining room at my desk and one of the staff members came rushing out there and said, “Mary, come in here quick!” And about that time I looked up and I saw that editor coming in. I said, “What in the world has happened?” She said, “You’ve got to look at these potatoes. You’re not ever going to believe these potatoes, just go!” I said, “Well you go up there and you talk to Ms. Thweatt. It don’t matter what you say, you just keep her out here and we’ll see what’s happened with the potatoes.” When I go back there they’re the rustiest looking things I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know what we were going to do. You know, we didn’t have anything else to substitute, I mean we didn’t. So I thought ‘Well, I’ll just go in the storage room and we’ll just get up a whole lot of spices and stuff and we’ll powder them and kind of make them look like they’re supposed to look like that’, so we did. And then I went out there just a smiling like everything and Ms. Thweatt ate lunch with us, and of course she ate those potatoes, and she thought they were wonderful. She said, “I’ve got to have this recipe for the Journal, I’ve just got have the recipe; we’ve got to put this recipe in the paper.” I didn’t know what I poured on there. I couldn’t do that. Finally I thought, ‘Well my tail’s in a crack, I’ll just say, you know, that’s a recipe that’s very special to North Cobb High School. I really don’t think they would want us to put that in the paper’, and that’s what she put in the paper.

VW: Well, it’s obvious that you’ve had a lot of fun over the years and have made work fun for a lot of people.

MN: Well I’ve had a good time doing it.

VW: Can you think of any other stories you want to tell us this afternoon? What about some of the national conferences? Are there any interesting things at some of the conferences that come to mind?

MN: Oh, listen, that’s always interesting. I’ve had, I was Program Chairman twice, you know. Slow learner. I was Program Chairman in New Orleans when we had ‘All That Jazz’. Great conference except the exhibit hall caught on fire. It had to be evacuated and we were not sure if the conference was going to continue or not. Then there was the time I was Program Chairman in Indianapolis, ‘Race For Tomorrow’. And they were inviting everybody to Philadelphia. We had the mummers coming down the aisle. You know, the mummers with all the beads and stuff? And one of the mummer’s beads got caught on some lady’s wig, and it went flying across the aisle. And the mummer acted like he never noticed a thing; he just kept right on coming. And there was this big scramble to get this woman’s wig, get it back on her head.

VW: Oh goodness. Well, is there anything else you’d like to talk about? The field is open.

MN: Well, I can’t think of anything right at the minute.

VW: Okay, well if you think of other stories you just will have to let us know about them. We really appreciate your time today and are very glad we got to come and talk to you.

MN: Well, I’m just delighted ya’ll came to Kennesaw.

VW: Yes. All right. Thank you.

MN: Can you tell I like to talk about the School Nutrition Program?

VW: Yes.


Mary Nix Oral History Update

Jeffrey Boyce: I’m Jeffrey Boyce and it is May 22, 2014. I’m here at the National Food Service Management Institute with Mary Nix. Welcome Mary, and thanks for taking the time to talk to me today.

Mary Nix: Oh I’m delighted to be here. I wanted to add a few things to my original oral history. One was that the year I was president-elect for the American School Food Service Association I received the Silver Plate Award from the International Food Manufacturers Association. That was a big deal for me, because country had really come to town. We had a wonderful time, and that’s something that has gone with me for a long, long time. And then when I retired in 1991, December the 31st, I had lunch on January the 1st with Josephine Martin, she said, “Why don’t you come over to the Institute and do just a little bit?” I said, “I can’t do that.” She said, “Oh yes, yes you can, but you will have to have a computer that will interface with The University of Mississippi’s computer.” I’d had a secretary. I didn’t have to fool with that computer thing. So I called up one of the kids that thinks he belongs to me and I said, “Look, you’re going to have to go buy me a computer that will interface with The University of Mississippi.” I had no idea what that was. So he took my credit card and went off and bought me a computer. Every time I wanted to send something over here I’d have to call him up, say, “Eucley, please come by here after work and send this over to The University of Mississippi.” That was literally the truth, but it was fun to do. The first project that we had to do was the second BLT. That was On the Road to Professional Food Service Preparation, and we just had the best time doing that. And after that I was involved in a lot of training materials for the university for the National Food Service Management Institute. After we finished that first BLT I worked for a short period of time as the interim education director when the original one left and they were hiring a new one. I guess I kind of filled that small little gap, but it was fun! I had the best time.  Of course I’m not going anywhere that you can’t have a good time. It really was fun to do, and after that I worked on my favorite project of the whole thing – Healthy Cuisine for Kids. I was involved in the writing of the first one, and presenting the first one with a nutritionist, a chef, and me. We had a really good time and we taught lots of people lots of things, including USDA staff, state agency staff, and food service directors. We presented a package that they could use when they went out to do training. We were trying to give them a model that they could use when they went out to teach these training classes. They were divided into five different sections. They could teach it as a complete unit, or they could take any one unit as a stand-alone unit to teach. It was really fun and we had lots of positive feedback from those few hours I considered it. It was only a three day workshop, but it was really fun and I think we reached a lot of people. And we’ve had positive feedback that said we’ve taken this year after year to different sections. State agencies thought that was wonderful. It was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed that. After the training programs I worked with the Institute to do a number of training programs that somebody else had prepared – maybe I’d had just a little bit to say – but we had lots of fun doing training programs for people across the country, from coast to coast, and they even made fun of the way I talked, but that was alright. When they said something about me talking slow it got worse. But they didn’t throw me out, and I really think they kind of enjoyed the training programs. So that’s been my big thing is the training programs, to see people who want to learn and want to take things back to make programs better for children, and that has been my experience.

Jeffrey Boyce: So what are you up to these days?
Mary Nix: Well, just traveling as much as I can. And then I’m doing a few lesson plans here and there, and doing a little sewing – a few samples for the Atlanta Sewing Center.

Jeffrey Boyce: Thanks for talking with me today.