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Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside


Material Information

Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside
Series Title:
Tampa arts and culture oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (91 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Fodiman, Aaron
Burnside, Margaret
Berkman, Suzette
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Arts -- Florida -- Tampa   ( lcsh )
Tampa Bay (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )


Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside, founders of Tampa Bay Magazine, discuss their life's work. Some of the topics they discuss include Margaret's family and growing up in Florida; Aaron's education and his life in Washington, D.C.; how the couple met; and their life together in the Tampa Bay area. The couple also discusses their passion for the community in which they live and the various charitable organizations they support. The interview includes a detailed history of the founding of Tampa Bay Magazine along with Margaret and Aaron's vision for the magazine's future.
Interview conducted on October 3, 2006.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
Streaming audio.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Suzette Berkman.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028589751
oclc - 182540036
usfldc doi - T31-00008
usfldc handle - t31.8
System ID:

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C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0


Tampa Arts and Culture Oral History Project University of South Florida Interview with: Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside Interviewed by: Suzette Berkman Location: Tampa, FL Date: October 3, 2006 Transcribed by: Rebecca Willman Audit Edit b y: Nicole Cox Audit Edit Date: July 31, 2007 Final Edit by: Nicole Cox Final Edit Date: November 14, 2007 [Tape 1, Side A] SB: This is a test. This is October 3, and I'm Suzette Berkman. MB: And I'm part of the test too, Margaret Word Burnside. A F: And this is the SB: Is October 3, [2006], and I am here with Margaret Word Burnside, and with Aaron Fodiman. It's October 3, and we're interviewing these two wonderful people due to their profound impact on the Tampa Bay area. Thank you so much for be ing here. I enjoy you both as a couple, and we'll try to get to know you individually as well. MB: This is quite an honor to be invited. SB: Oh, wonderful. AF: I'm not saying anything until I'm asked a question. SB: [laughs] Okay, well, we'll have a lo Margaret, if we may, Aaron. AF: That would be my preference. SB: Tell us a little bit about where you're from, Margaret. MB: I was born in Clearwater, Florida, and while we're sitting here in your hom e, looking out at Tampa Bay, which is so gorgeous, it makes me realize that in the 1950s and '60s we wouldn't be sitting here probably. If you grew up in Clearwater because the whole area was so divided because of the transportation problems. SB: What, w hy?


2 MB: It was practically a day trip to get SB: Oh my. MB: to you know, between Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, it was quite a distance. Two lane roads to go to St. Petersburg, we used to drive through a cow pasture, which was fun, but quite time consuming. The Courtney Campbell [Causeway] once they built it was very narrow, two lanes, and you know, it was quite an adventure to travel. SB: And did you travel? MB: We did. I can remember coming to Gasparilla one day. We had a holiday in scho ol even in on the other, in Pinellas County, there was a holiday for Gasparilla at that time. But it was quite a journey. SB: Were your parents born here? MB: They were born in Atlanta and moved to Clearwater because they wanted to open an airport here And flew around Florida to find a place that they really liked. And they loved the beaches, and the people that they met here, and the weather. And [they] settled here, even though their families had been in the Atlanta area for generations. SB: Is that what they did here? MB: Yes. SB: They had an airport? MB: They opened the airport and then started, daddy started Metal Industries, a manufacturing company in one of the hangars. And eventually moved to other places. And so, you know, moved on from th e airport. But SB: Were you involved in that ? MB: I was SB: as you grew? MB: as I grew? I was a little girl. But you know, daddy would take us out to the airport and he would take us flying which was very fun. SB: Did you learn to fly? MB: He used to let me steer.


3 SB: Okay. MB: There weren't as many laws back then. We could go any place and almost do anything and in fact my mother just learned not that long ago that he used to do wing over's with us in the plane SB: Oh my goodness. MB: a nd figure eights and we would do tricks. And it was very exciting. But I don't think you're allowed to do that anymore. But I never really flew by myself. My mother learned to fly, and soloed. SB: Isn't that wonderful. MB: It was very you know, this was a very small area. SB: So she was involved in the business too? MB: No, not really. She was taking care of four children. SB: Oh, okay. MB: And I'm the oldest of the four. So she was ? SB: Sisters? Brothers? MB: I have a brother, two years younge r who lives in Los Angeles as an is in the film industry. A sister, six years younger who lives in Clearwater still, has a daughter, 13, and is very involved in the community on boards and committees and things, as my mother used to be (and still is). And then I have a baby brother who is twelve years younger who lives in Hawaii. And SB: Oh. What does he do? MB: He's he used to be president of Telnet, now Aaron likes to say he's an heir. [Laughs] SB: [Laughs] Okay. MB: He, right now is skiing some pl ace in Colorado or SB: Oh my goodness, oh gosh. MB: We grew up traveling, all of us, so SB: And how old were you while your father had the business?


4 MB: When he started the other business I was probably in elementary school. He started the manufactu ring company. And then as I was growing up we all worked there doing different things along the way, and it was always terribly embarrassing. Because it was one of the largest employers around, so most of the boys in school, in high school, worked for dadd y. So I hated that. SB: Oh! MB: Yeah, it was SB: That is interesting. MB: Of course now the area has grown so much more, you know, that that's the small business now. SB: Sure. Is your father still living? MB: He's no longer living. But he was one of these really fun people that sailed sailboats, collected antique cars SB: Oh, that's wonderful. MB: And every summer, we would travel out west. And spend six weeks in an air stream trailer, just going wherever he decided we should go. SB: That is terrific. MB: It was always very, very fun. So its SB: Did you develop your love of travel from those years? MB: I think so, couldn't help it. We would look forward to it, and get so we recognized different places, then we had favorite places that we wanted to go. And it was always just a wonderful family together event. SB: That's terrific. And your mother is still living? MB: My mother still lives in the home I grew up in, in Clearwater. And she's still I think she's maybe the oldest, long running board member of the Salvation Army. SB: How wonderful. MB: She was president of so many different groups. And at one point I think she was president of four different PTAs at once.


5 SB: Oh my gosh. MB: Yeah, but she was SB: Because MB: always very involved in the community. SB: That's terrific. Is she still ? MB: Yes. And she still travels, and she SB: And part time she lives in North Carolina? MB: North Carolina, in Highlands, for most of the summer. SB: That's terrific. MB: So SB : And do you all visit? MB: Whenever we were able to. We were there this summer. SB: That's terrific. And at what point did you meet Aaron? MB: Aaron and I met SB: Is this is this your first if I might ask, [marriage]? MB: Actually my second mar riage SB: Your second? MB: I have a SB: Do you, do you want to tell us about the first? MB: Sure. I had another life before Aaron. AF: Not nearly as good! SB: [laughs] MB: [laughs] That, or exciting.


6 SB: as exciting. MB: I'm really very f ortunate. You know, sometimes things that seem like they're really, really terrible things in your life can turn out to be blessings. SB: That's so true. MB: And actually, that's what happened. When I was married to Bob Burnside, and we were married quit e a 18 years. SB: Oh my. That's a long time. MB: And then when he ran off with my best friend, I was just devastated! SB: [Gasps] Oh my word! MB: [Laughs] SB: [Laughs] I'm sure! MB: But then later, I met Aaron, and we just were immediate friends. SB: Oh that's wonderful. MB: So it was SB: How did you meet the first Mr. ? MB: I met SB: that you were married to? MB: him when I'd been sailing with daddy, and the rest of the family. And was home from college one summer. And he was with anothe r friend of mine. And the friend said, Oh, there will be a lot of girls there from Steven's College. Let's go say hello SB: [Laughs] MB: And they were getting off their boat. And so they came over and we started going out. And I really was going out with somebody else, but needed a partner to model with No way So, since Bob was willing to model in the fashion show SB: You bonded. MB: I started going out with him! [Laughs]


7 SB: [Laughs] MB: And then we eventually got married. SB: And what did he do? MB: He now sells insurance. In the beginning he worked at Morgan Yacht. And was the marketing director there. SB: Okay. MB: So, I and he, his real love was fishing and boating. So I in my fo rmer life I did a lot of boating and sailing. SB: Oh gosh. That's exciting. MB: First with daddy, and then with Bob. Now Aaron and I like to cruise on SB: Travel the world. MB: cruise ships. SB: [laughs] right! MB: We've moved up a little. SB: [ laughs] MB: [Laughs] SB: You mentioned you went to Stevens College? because while I was there it was becoming a four year school. So I wrote a paper saying why I s hould be one of the ones selected to stay for two more years. SB: Oh my MB: And [I] did stay SB: Great. MB: and just loved it. I would have stayed ten years.


8 SB: Oh, that's terrific. What was your major? MB: It was a lot of everything. I always t ook extra classes. But it was really, Liberal Arts. But I took a lot of music and humanities and English and literature. And just loved it there SB: That's wonderful. MB: it was just great. They had small classes, and you could be really involved. And, I could do all my favorite things like water ballet and model and SB: Terrific. MB: and you know, just all of my hobbies SB: Keep all your interests. MB: were pushed there as well, so SB: That's wonderful. MB: It was very fun. SB: Well, how di d you meet Mr. Right? MB: It's such a long story, that Aaron actually likes to tell so I should let him tell it. AF: You can tell it. MB: My version is about SB: A little different? MB: about a quarter of his. AF: Save four hours. SB: [Laughs] MB: Yes, his is very long. We really and truly met on a bus. And anybody who knows us SB: On a bus! MB: would swear that we've never even ridden on a bus.


9 SB: [laughs] MB: But there was Leadership Pinellas group was having their annual trip to Tall ahassee. And I was on the committee that helped plan the trip. But normally would not have gone. But since Bob had left, I thought, Why not? I don't have to stay home, might as well go on this trip And Aaron was on the trip because he had just moved to ou r area. And a And so we were riding along on Oh! The time is off! And I said, n't know how to work it, but it doesn't matter, the time changed, I know exactly what time it is. It's going And she grabbed my watch off my wrist, took it up, tapped Aaron on the shoulder, and [Turns to Aaron] You can d o it from here. AF: What I still consider the world's greatest yuppie pick up line, turned to me and said, SB: Oh my goodness. That's extreme. And as she went back to get Margaret's watch, I turned Just what I want to meet, some bimbo that can't set her own watch SB: [laughs] Oh gosh! MB: I was terribly embarrassed. SB: What an introduction! MB: B ut he set the watch and then, because Okay, maybe I do want to SB and MB: [Laughs] SB: I would think so, Aaron! MB: But SB: That's a great story. MB: by setting the watch he got to ask the girl sitting next to So she knew that I was going through a divorce, since her husband was handling the divorce. SB: Oh, Okay.


10 MB: So AF: And he had been my fraternity brother in college. So that's how I knew her. SB: Isn't it a small world? That is amazing. Where were you going on this bus? MB: Tallahassee. SB: Tallahassee. MB: To visit the legislators. SB: Okay. And so that's how you initially met? Oh, that's poor Margaret Burnside. She's going through a terr And then proceeded to tell me that after knowing me for thirty years, that was the biggest smile she had ever seen on my face. SB: Oh, that's, a great story. Well Aaron, now tell me and and we've talked before about this, but you have a ve ry interesting background in terms of your studies. But can we go even further back as to where you were born? AF: Oh sure, I was born in Stanford, Connecticut. SB: Okay. AF: Which was a bedroom community to New York City. And my father had been born there along with his brothers. My grandfather moved there before the turn of the century. [He] had escaped from Russia, Poland, or one of those places, and had come there. And my father went to school in New Orleans at Loyola University where he met my mot her who had been born and raised in New Orleans. And brought his southern belle back to Stanford after he graduated from dental school. And so that's where I was born and raised. And thought I would spend all of my life there, just as my father and his bro thers were spending all of their lives there. In those days, people didn't move around. You assumed that you would live in the same town that you were raised in. And so I grew up in Stanford, and was SB: With how many siblings? AF: Four siblings, I'm t he oldest of four. Margaret and I have that very much in common. I have two younger sisters and a younger brother. And we're each approximately three know my brother u ntil he came down to Washington to go to college. Because I went


11 away to school when I was 16 years old, I went to college. And at that time he was only seven years old. And when you're 16, you don't really know your seven year old sibling. SB: That's tr ue, yeah. Where did you go to school? AF: Tulane in New Orleans. SB: Because of your mother? AF: Because of my father I was slated to go to Dartmouth. And two weeks before I was I don't like to interfere in your life, but I'd like you to consider where you're going to college. I know you're all excited about going to Dartmouth, and everybody's excited that you're going to Dartmouth. But I must tell you, it's very cold up there. And there are no girls up there. An d I would strongly suggest you And we went to New Orleans all the time because of my mother's family, so I knew the city well. And I thought about it, and I finally turned to my parents and said, ably right. I probably am carried away with the Ivy League and all the rest. And maybe New Orleans is where I should And they got in the car, drove me down, and I went to classes at Tulane for a week before my transcripts got down there. Because they knew they were going to admit me. And that's how I ended up at Tulane. And of course I was a pre med student because in fifth grade, they had career day. And I was generally fairly bright, so when they said, What are you going to be? I knew fireman, cowbo y wasn't going to pass anymore by the time I was in fifth grade. So I said, And I came home that day and and she held her bre And when I told her So they did, and of course I got extra dessert that night or something. And the next year, we had sixth grade, [and we] had career day. And I could remember a year back, so when it came to me, it was like, my hand was up there, I'm going to be a doctor, and all the accolades started all over again. So by the time I was in ninth grade, everybody kne w I was going to be a doctor, including me. And it was just natural, and you know I didn't have to meet with the school counselors, nobody was worried, What am I going to do with my life? So it was very simple. And of course I got down to Tulane and found out that anybody that wasn't a premed, we basically considered brain damaged SB: Oh gosh. AF: You know we figured, oh yeah, well he's in business school, he's not too bright [laughs]. SB: [laughs] Oh goodness.


12 AF: It was really that type of thing. And lo and behold, when I got ready to go into medical school, I suddenly started to faint. I have something called Vasovagal syndrome, which when I see blood, think about blood, anything of that nature, I faint! SB: Oh gosh. AF: And they told me, Don't wo I decided that I'd go to graduate business school. And lo and behold, I couldn't get into graduate business school because I had never taken [an] accounting course, an economics course. My degree was in chemistry. SB: Your degree? AF: Undergraduate degree. SB: Okay. Because you AF: This is when I was premed SB: Okay. AF: I was a pre med my degree. My degree was in the sciences, which was chemistry. And not knowing what in the world to do with my life at that point, I was 20 years old, and I thought I was really old. I started to panic. And one of my father's friends, who was dean of N ew York law school, and we were having lunch with him, and I was telling my dilemma He says, school, you can get into graduate business school because they will accept that as your So I said, He says, Okay SB: Oh my gosh. AF: And I went through law school in two years, and when I graduated SB: At at which school? AF: New York Law School. SB: Okay. AF: Downtown New York, Foley Square, across from the federal courthouse.


13 And I was had my application into New York graduate school [in] business administration. And at that time, I'd won the international law award. And the Kennedy administration had just come in. A nd so they had their best and brightest program. And they came to the school to recruit me for the federal government. SB: Oh my gosh. Well, I'd love to, but I want to go to graduate And they s Well, why don't you work for us during the day and go And that's what I did. So SB: Amazing. AF: the first year I worked, I worked up in New York so I could go to graduate business school. SB: What did you do in your job? AF: I started with the Federal Trade Commission. And from there I transferred into the White House, and I was basically White House counsel for every president from Kennedy through Carter. SB: White House counsel? AF: Yes. SF: That is extraordinary. AF: It was fun. SB: My gosh! AF: It was fun. SB: What kind of experience that had to be! AF: Things that you don't SB: Do you have some stories? AF: want to ever talk about! SB: Well [laughs], so AF: There are two thing s you never want to see made. One is sausages, the other is laws.


14 SB: Oh no. Well do you have some stories from that time? AF: I have wonderful stories but I tell very few of them. But I will tell one story because it relates to Margaret. SB: Okay. AF: When she finally got up the courage to introduce me to her family, because I was not what they really had in mind for her, she I think we had been dating almost nine months before she finally brought me to her family's home. And they were talking about her father's best friend who had moved back to Clearwater to live near him since they had been friends since they were three and four years old. And I heard the name, and I listened, and I asked a few questions, and I realized he had been my first boss in Washington, DC when I went down to Washington. SB: Oh my goodness, that is incredible. AF: And of course, when I told them, they made sure that I was invited back immediately so that they could have him over as well. And we could reminisce about old ti mes, so to speak. SB: Isn't that interesting. AF: But again, that small world thing. It's incredible how often the paths of your life cross back and forth. SB: That's incredible. Now what year would that have been in? AF: Well, for me, I went to work for the government in 1960. And then met Margaret in 1985. [Phone ringing tape paused] AF: So therefore, it had been 25 years basically since I had first seen and met Margaret's father's best friend, never realizing that some 25 years later, I would be sitting in my future wife's home finding out that this man, whose job it was to oversee what I did as a beginning young lawyer SB: That's extraordinary. AF: was going to be tied in in that way. SB: Just amazing. [Tape Paused]


15 AF: The funny thing ab out telling stories about things that happen in the White House, first of all, you realize that you had a very skewed view of the world there, that the rest of the world finds hard to understand. The other thing is that we all realize relatively quickly th at we all had our own versions of exactly the same thing that took place very shortly after the event. So most of the stories about what happened in the White House were long, ongoing dialogues and probably the biggest lesson that we learned was, particula rly during Watergate, where we were so tied up in every little thing that happened each and every day. And found out fifty miles outside of Washington, nobody else cared. SB: Oh, okay. AF: And that was a big shock for us because SB: Really? AF: we were so centered in the fact that, Oh my god, here we are in the core of government, basically determining what was going to happen with the rest of the world at that time. SB: Extraordinary. AF: And so the stories are really what has happened to histor y. And as they say, history is written by the winners. So basically, whatever we saw as what was going on within the White House, it's how it ultimately worked out that matters. So the rest of the stories are insignificant. SB: Not sure I agree with you A aron, but of course that's your prerogative. You know, to not comment on those. But let me ask you, how did it affect you as a person? AF: One, it made me very open minded. Two, it made me very much aware that there is never any one way to do things. And that three, don't prejudge anything. Because no matter how you think it may turn out, it may end up totally differently than what you expected. I think it made me very aware of the fallibility of all of mankind. SB: Wow. Pretty serious lesson to learn. AF: Because well, in the beginning we thought we knew everything. And as time went on SB: How did it affect you then professionally? Did it steer you in certain directions? AF: No, as a matter of fact, ultimately, all that happened was that I finally decided it was time to move on. And that I wanted to do something else with my life. SB: Okay. And this was, this was what year?


16 AF: This was 1978. I had been working for the government for 18 years. And President Carter was in office. I was an Iranian expert. I was very close with the Shah, and the Iranian ambassador. And we knew the overthrow was coming. I was one of those people that argued very strenuously to keep the Shah in power and tried to explain that there are certain groups of people that, t hat you cannot give their civil liberties to. And things You know, I really don't feel that I'm doing any good It was time to leave. And at that point, I left, and just went in a totally different direction. And a ccepted the position as President of Popeye's Family Fried Chicken. Just to SB: My gosh. AF: you know, go from the sublime to the ridiculous. SB: But into the business world. AF: But into the business world. And then I ended up coming to Clearwater b ecause the Kapok Tree Restaurant chain was offered to me to purchase. And I wanted the corporation to buy it, and the corporation didn't want to buy the chain, but I did. So I gave my resignation, left Popeye's, bought the Kapok Tree chain, and started com ing down This is heaven, And SB: Our fortune. AF: moved here. So it's, it's funny how unexpected things are there, that serendipity is everywhere. SB: Absolutely. And let me ask you, did you ever get that MBA? AF: Yes, I did. [Laughs] SB: [Laughs]. You did? AF: Yes I did. SB: From? AF: From New York Graduate School of Business Administration. SB: Was that important to you? AF: I though t it was at the time. The only thing that I think that ever came out of it that was important was that I remember vividly a course I took on corporate finance, where


17 they taught you the proper way to select an underwriter for your company. And I guess I wa s out of school three years when I started to get involved with some public underwritings. And realized that I had spent three hours in a course to teach me something that could have boiled down to, You accept whoever says yes. SB: Oh, okay [laughs]. AF: And it was one of the real lessons in life, that some people make things look as though you have control over them. And the truth of the matter is, No. You just go out there and ask enough people until somebody says yes. SB: Well how long were you with Popeye's? AF: From 1978 to 1983. SB: Oh, okay. AF: So it was five years. SB: A good bit of time. AF: It was and I loved it and I had a great time, and I was living in New York City, and it was fabulous and it was such a big change for me. From what I had been doing to go from worrying about everything in the world to, okay, all we have to do is sell chicken. SB: Kapok Tree. That was also a restaurant. Could you tell us a little bit about that? AF: Well the Kapok chain Again, interesting how all t hese things come about that are all long stories. But it was a chain of restaurants that had started outside Washington, DC back in 1948. A woman had been serving dinners in her home after her husband passed away. Her son went off to the army, came back, [ and] was in the music business, playing in big bands, and all of a sudden, the big bands stopped. So he went home, and he'd been [End tape 1, side A] ___ [Tape 1, side B] AF: he decided to take this concept he bring it back to his mother's restaurant in Maryland. And called it Peter Pan. And it grew, but Peter Pan was so far out of Washington, DC that they closed down for the winter. And in 1957, they found a plac e in Clearwater, and they opened up a Kapok Tree Restaurant in Clearwater because the Kapok Tree was already [a] well established monument there. And they bought the land next to the Kapok Tree, and they opened that restaurant up for the winter. So they ta ke their staff to Clearwater for the winter, then


18 close down in the summer in Clearwater because everybody was gone, and moved back to Maryland, open up Peter Pan in Maryland, and they did this for several years. And eventually, as time went on, Clearwat er grew. Maryland grew. They started to keep them open all year round. And the year was, I think 1968. And they decided to go public. And at that time I was representing an underwriter in Washington DC that agreed to take them public. So I learned all abou t the Kapok Trees when I was going through the prospectus for the underwriter doing the filings. And knew all the investors and everybody involved. And again, in 1983, some 15 years later, the owner of the Kapok Tree passed away. His wife had taken over th e business. He had three children in the business. She fought with his three children because she was the fourth wife. She settled with the children by buying out their stock. Unfortunately, [neither] the corporation nor she had the money. The company was a public company. The original underwriters still had lots of people involved. The corporation, they knew I was now in the food business, Aaron, do we have a deal for you. Because y ou're one of the only people that know all about it, you're in the food business, this is the perfect match and we're having a problem selling And that's how it happened. And I took it to No, we're a fast food company, we So I found some other investors, and we borrowed money and we bought the chain. Bought the public company SB: And this was ? AF: and that's how we ended up with tha t, and as I say, I came down here in 1984, and that's how I got to the Tampa Bay area. SB: Through the Kapok Tree. AF: Through the Kapok Tree. So SB: What did you do with the Kapok Tree? AF: Well eventually, the original concept was that we were goin g to sell off all the property, because they were all on very large parcels of land. And I was very familiar with real estate development, so we were saying, Okay, we bought this for five million dollars, we can spin it off, probably and get 20 million dol lars. Divide it up with the other shareholders, everybody will make out wonderfully well. Well I got in there, started running the restaurants, loved running the restaurants, and so we were much slower in selling off the properties than was originally in tended. But we eventually sold off each property. The one in Fort Lauderdale was sold to the county it's now a county park. It was 65 acres. The one in Madeira Beach was sold to the Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Community Center was there for a w hile. The original property up in Maryland was sold to a housing developer who ended up never being able to develop the property and it's back to being a restaurant. The one in


19 Clearwater, under the tree, was sold to Thoroughbred music stores. Elliot Rubin son, and Elliot still runs owns it. And he sold his chain to MB: Sam Ash. AF: Sam Ash Music. So they now rent that space and it's still rented out for special events, et cetera. And then my favorite was the Savoy across the street. When they widened McM ullen Booth Road, they took half the restaurant. So we sold that half to the Department of Transportation and I sold the other half to a fellow by the name of Ken Sawter who built a small shopping center there. So that's what happened SB: Which is still there. AF: to all the property. So it just took a lot longer than we'd originally planned. But that's because I was having such a wonderful time running the restaurants. We were in no rush to sell them unless we could get the price we wanted. SB: How m uch time was that? AF: It went from we bought it in 1983, March of 1983. And I think the last piece of property was sold in May of 1991. SB: Wow, so that's a long time. AF: So, so it was SB: Did you, did you AF: well, it was a long time but a sho rt time. It was eight years, and a lot went on in those eight years. SB: Did you have a direct I mean, were you running the restaurant yourself? AF: Oh, I was running the restaurants. I was coming up with the recipes with Margaret used to love to come o ver because we'd have tastings every couple of months to see what we're going to add to the menu, take off the menu SB: How fun. AF: I was very much involved. In fact in 1987 and 1988, I won in the US Chef's Open. So I was very, very active. SB: My go odness. AF: I was also doing all the buying for all the gift shops. I mean, I was there


20 SB: Amazing. AF: all the time SB: My goodness. AF: loving every bit of it, and enjoying just, having such a diverse operation to deal with. SB: Margaret, we re you involved? MB: Not at all. I ate there quite a lot. Because Aaron had to be there. He had to walk around, even if he wasn't going to do anything, they needed to see that he was there. Because, especially on holidays. They had to be there, so he had to be there too. So our families had a lot of holiday dinners there. And we could invite whomever we wanted, but that's where we had to eat, not at home. SB: What year were you married? MB: We don't even know for sure! [Laugh] AF: Actually, actually SB: Do you know? AF: It was I know for sure. It was 1987. SB: Okay. AF: It was 1987, and it was SB: So this was after you started in the restaurant business. AF: Oh yes. See, I didn't move here until SB: Right, right. AF: '84. So I met Margaret in about '86. SB: Oh that's great. Now, okay, after the restaurant's gone, now what? AF: I started to look for other things to do. MB: That before that, the magazine already started, while he was still


21 SB: The Tampa Bay Magazine we're talking about MB: Tampa Bay Magazine right. SB: Okay. AF: Oh, okay. MB: You kind of forgot that minor detail [laughs]. AF: Yeah, I MB: [Laughs] that's our whole life now, but AF: Nineteen ninety, I moved down here, I'm trying to make a new life down here. I 'm very involved in the arts in Washington and New York. And it SB: In what way? AF: In all ways. SB: Okay. AF: In theatre, in museums, in a multitude of different organizations. MB: Boards and committees. SB: Okay. AF: Kennedy Center you name i t I was involved in it. And everybody said, What are you going to do in the backwater? I Of course, I came down here Ruth Eckerd Hall was starting, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center was starting u p. There was so much going on. I went on the board of the Tampa Museum of Art. There were opportunities everywhere. And I was having a wonderful time, but I was finding it very difficult to fully enjoy the lifestyle I had had for those SB: Sure. AF: ye ars in Washington and New York. And one of the things that I noticed was missing was, in New York and Washington, I had always read the local lifestyle magazine. Washington it was Washingtonian ; New York [it was] New York Magazine And you knew the bette r restaurants, the people that were involved in things what exhibits were going on there was this whole part of my life that I was having a very difficult time getting all this stuff together. And I decided that we really needed a regional magazine down he re for me. I didn't care about anybody else. But I wanted a


22 regional magazine that gave me all this information. I wanted to go to the better restaurants. Well, I love the Tribune I love the St. Pete Times but you are not going to find out about the li festyle that I wanted from either of those publications. The TV of course is geared to a totally different audience. So I had this idea of starting the magazine. And I hired some people to work for me, and I thought it would be very easy because I had in m y mind exactly what I wanted. It was going to be a combination of New York Magazine and Washingtonian Magazine. And to this day, I am very flattered if somebody says to me, You know, your magazine looks just like Washingtonian or looks just like New York. Anyway, what happened was I terminated the people that were running the magazine SB: Which was it called Tampa Bay ? MB: Tampa Bay Magazine AF: Tampa Bay SB: From when you purchased it? AF: From the start. I didn't p urchase it. I started from scratch. SB: Okay. SB: Okay. AF: Yeah, Margaret kept telling me SB: Oh gosh. [laughs] MB: [Laughs] AF: You know? And we all We go to the Yacht Club, we go to Heilman's [Beachcomber Restaurant], I mean she could four restaurants, that's it! How many more restaurants do you need? SB: But you said you fired the people who were on who were those people? AF: I hired somebody. It was a Greg Snow MB: And just didn't follow the directions.


23 AF: So Greg Snow he was one of those people that Would rather lie than tell the truth, even if the truth was better I've just MB: And his sister was working doing the books. They it was just a little too inbred i n there. And Margaret said, SB: Oh my! MB: It's no big deal. I have a background in all those kind of things. I thought this would be easy. AF: So in 1988, she went and r an the magazine. MB: I was on SB: Wait a minute. We need to back up. You have a background in that? Could you clarify? MB: Well SB: Because I don't think we talked about that. MB: I had done catalogues and all of the anything that was published f or, first, daddy's company, and then for another company that a manufacturing company that was their national manufacturing company. So I knew, I could even do the physical layout for the art department. SB: Terrific. MB: I had always been able to writ e, and I thought, How hard can this be? You know, I know about business, I can just do this. And got in there and took about two minutes to realize [that] what really mattered was selling ads. Luckily, I had been out collecting money for all kinds of cha rity events. The boards that I was on, and had always been able to sell. So that was easy and actually still to this day, my favorite part of the magazine. But, so I SB: Interesting. MB: went in there doing that, and really spent almost two years just cleaning up problems that had been created


24 SB: I see. MB: that everybody almost that I ran into thought they were going to be on the cover SB: I see. MB: Little, minor details like that. But I was I didn't really have time to be doing this, but got so involved in it, that I really loved it. I was modeling and coordinating fashion shows, and I would literally be backstage at a fashion show, while they were calling, You're on! And I'd be on the cell phone, working on an advertiser SB: Oh my goodness. MB: Just a second, just a second, I'll be And so I realized Okay, if I'm going to do this, I better quit modeling, resign from about ten different boards I was on. I really went into the magazine. Then, when Aaron sold Kapok, he was wondering, What am I going to do now? Because he had gone from being so busy to just nothing to do. So he was looking for a job. And that's when I interrupted him What are you doi Well, I've got to do I was talking to people about all kinds of businesses and deals. Well, you've got a magazine, why don't you MB: Get over here! AF: I don't know anythin g about the magazine, you're doing a And MB: So he would sit in there reading the paper for the for a long time. And so we had to find things that he could do. But he could always write. And he had never sold anything. As many things as he had done, so we had to work on selling skills [laughs]. AF: And I had always been a photographer MB: So he could do that. AF: so I was thrilled to go out and take photographs of anything that they needed a photograph of, and then slowly they found diffe rent things for me to do. MB: And it really ended up being such a fun thing, that we quit looking for somebody else to run it because we loved working together, being together all the time. SB: That's important.


25 MB: And having this common project tha t was so exciting. And [we] had certain goals. And one of the goals was bringing the Tampa Bay area together. And so we were very focused on that, as well as you know, finding things that our readers and we felt like we were the typical readers so we knew what they would want. And just really, it's something we enjoy doing together. AF: And I thought I had done my job very well because when I first married Margaret, if she would have said, So you know, the view point was your entire life could be lived very happily in Clearwater, Dunedin without ever having to go any place else. SB: So was your focus initially Clearwater, Dunedin? AF: No. MB: No SB: With the magazine? MB: we knew we needed to SB: To bring MB: do the whole area. AF: That's what that's why they did Tampa Bay from day one, because to me, I lived in Stanford which was a metropolitan part of New York City. I mean, we always considered [that] we were part of New York City. And living in Washington [DC], I mean, it was a metropolitan area. Nobody thought of DC as the only part of Washington. So when I got down here, this to me was so clearly a metropolitan ar ea. I couldn't understand that the rest of the world didn't see that Tampa Bay was one area. SB: You, in my mind, both of you, have helped with that particular mindset incorporating it as Tampa Bay. There are few institutions like the Florida Orchestra. Well, I can't a couple others I'm sure come to mind. AF: Yeah, well, we're MB: They're one of the only ones SB: But they're bringing all those areas together. AF: Well that's why we're very proud of the fact that Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center just announced that they're going to be working together.


26 SB: That's exciting. AF: That every time we see these groups coming together, I mean we thought it was wonderful when the Heart Association said lsborough and Pinellas. Now, we're the Tampa Bay Arts Association. So we, right from the beginning kept telling people, Please don't divide [The] Cancer Society used to have one fundraiser in Hillsborough and another in Pinellas. We said, Can't we do it a ll together? And they were having these little invites and we kept trying to say, There's no reason that it can't be one area and everybody join together And of course the sports teams followed through. You know, when we started it was Tampa Bay Buccanee rs, and then when all of a sudden it became the Tampa Bay Lightning, and then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, it was like, Wait! All the rest of the world is going Tampa Bay! Everybody was hearing, Tampa Bay. MB: And when you used to pick up one of the guides, if you looked up St. Petersburg, it had one listing of everything that they had or the the population, all the different figures. Clearwater would be separate, Tampa would be separate, and it isn't until they add them together and have Tampa Bay, that we' re just an astounding area. We're twelfth largest in the country. AF: ADI in the country. MB: And in the market. We're AF: I was just talking to somebody about that from Miami today. That nobody can believe that we're a bigger market than Miami. SB: And singly, we're not. Clearwater is not a AF: On no! MB: Singly, we're way down the bottom of the list. AF: We don't, we're so far down it, we wouldn't be on anybody's chart. MB: You wouldn't even notice it. SB: But together, yeah. MB: Together w e SB: Together we really make an impact. MB: Together we're the largest ADI, area of dominant influence, south of Atlanta. And I think it's Detroit that's ahead of us, and we're about to pass them.


27 AF: Yep. SB: That's extraordinary. AF: We're sure going to. SB: Extraordinary. AF: Well MB: And AF: WEDU is probably one of the best examples of that. SB: Very much. AF: You turn around and nobody has any idea how big WEDU is in the scope of public television stations. SB: It's true. That it c overs AF: But there's another one and we just have one after the other. Lowry Park Zoo, I mean I can name so many institutions. SB: Please do, because in my mind, that's where you all have made the biggest impact. You interact with every one of these o rganizations. AF: Yes. SB: And it would be interesting to hear how you interact. And what is your criteria to interact, you know, with a particular group? AF: Well, first of all, they've got to want our help. SB: Okay. MB: They have to call us and invite us to help. SB: Okay. AF: And be happy to get our help. Because we understand not everybody wants our help. And we decide that you can't go in and push things if they're not willing to. Like the Dali Museum. The Holocaust Museum. The Fine Arts Mu seum in St. Petersburg. There's three organizations that understand so well that they really have to deal with the whole area. And even though they're grouped together in this one little area in St. Petersburg, they all


28 understand that they are there for t he rest of the area. That they're a Tampa Bay institution. The Dali, the Holocaust, the Fine Arts are fascinating because each one of them is so different. But each one of them is so geared to taking care of the Tampa Bay area. MB: And the world. I mean the Dali AF: And the world! SB: They draw international MB: Yes. AF: They draw from all over. A couple of years ago, while I was President of several of the cultural organizations here in Tampa the Tampa Players, the Tampa Ballet Theatre, et cetera And one of the things I always did was try and make sure that if they performed in Tampa they also performed in Pinellas. And several years ago we were so excited when we got American Stage to come over. Now it turned out to be a fiasco for a multitude o f things, but at least they tried. And we understand That's one of the things I learned the most from government. That you don't always have to get positive results because somewhere along the line, at least you did try, and people will learn from that. S B: You sowed seeds. AF: You sowed the seeds. And that the seeds don't always catch on. And that SB: It's the only thing AF: they turn around. I mean, in the beginning, we were very, very involved with the Tampa Museum of Art when Andy Moss was there And then one thing led to another and we tried to work with Emily and there was just a different vision there. And even now, people are still so centered on, What's our building going to look like? Nobody talks about, what are we going to have in here? Y ou go down to St. Pete, they're concentrating on what show are we bringing here next? Do we have a reason for people to want to come? Are we building an art collection? Such a difference between the philosophies of two different organizations and the stran gest part is, probably 15 years ago, everybody would have bet that today the positions would be absolutely reversed because St. Petersburg were the old stodgy people who only wanted this very narrow scope of art. And the Tampa Museum of Art was the one tha t was opening up and blossoming and SB: You just never know. AF: You just never know.


29 SB: How are you involved to help these cultural institutions evolve? AF: Well, one o f the ways that we're involved is of course, we promote them in the magazine. We think that's very key. We have over 300,000 readers. So we're very, very aware that what we push makes a difference. We like to believe one of the reasons that the orchestra h as continued to grow has benefited the other media, and talk about the orchestra's problems. Yeah they have problems, every orchestra does! We only talk about the positive. So anybody that reads our magazine, when th ey think of the Florida Orchestra, tend to think, Gee, what a wonderful organization, we're always hearing about their great concerts or great parties and different events they're doing, how they're involved, who's donated to them. I mean that's another am azing thing. By simply reporting who's donated to them, people are very impressed by that. SB: Of course. AF: I mean, USF I mean, Judy [Genshaft] unquestionably has done an incredible job out there. And then Judy Lisi up at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Cen ter. There are some people that make our jobs so easy. Because they sit there and say, Gee, will you help us? And then there are other people that just sit there and go, We're here, we'd like to help you. And they go, Well, we don't really need that, that' s not what we're focusing on. So it's fascinating, one what we can do just through the way we present them in our publication. Which is something we get to do. And it's repetition because it's there all the time. SB: Can you describe how, for people who haven't read the magazine, can you describe ? MB: You mean there are people out there?! [laughs] SB: Not a lot But what is the format? How are you able to focus on these organizations? MB: Well we, for one thing, do stories about things that we like. And we happen to like the culture. And there are so many events going on, we may do something ahead of time, so and we have an event calendar that will tell people you know, what's going on. And so obviously we put that in there. We personally attend most of the events, in fact all of the events that are in the magazine. SB: That's terrific. MB: And so Aaron or I will take photos at events and after it's over, you can look and see social scenes. And they the people are always looking for the readers that happen to be photographed there, what did they wear? What was the party like? And here they are, think it helps in that way.


30 But we're totally focused on entertaini ng. We're not looking, like Aaron said, for something that's going to be negative or newsy. We're looking for what's fun, what's special about our area. What do you want to make sure you go to? We have artists in there AF: And what's happened? We do the people and places. We very much concentrate on who the people are because we believe that whatever Tampa Bay is, it's basically because of the people that are here. The next thing we do is, we concentrate on what places there are. Because until you tell pe ople about the Aquarium, about the Dali Museum, I agree people don't know. So, we're very much an information book. We're very much a book for people that sit down, and almost anybody that picks up our magazine goes through and finds something that they go Oh, this is interesting. I didn't know this. MB: They pick it up and say, What a great area this must be. Look at all the things that go on here. SB: You get a lot of feedback, I'm sure. AF: We do. We also divide the magazine into sections to appeal to different people. We very important. Because people are always going, Well, what am I going to do? it's by date. They look down, and they know. SB: And it's for how what period of time does it cover? AF: Well generally SB: Two mon ths? AF: It's three months. MB: Three months out. AF: Yeah, we generally go three months out. And we always have a phone number where they can call. So MB: And one of the neatest things about that is that a lot of the events that are in there used to be closed events. People would wonder how SB: By invite? MB: do I get an invitation to this? SB: By invitation only.


31 MB: Yes. And the different groups have realized [that] if they want to be in the magazine, they're inviting our readers. SB: T hat is terrific. MB: Our reader reads about it and wants to go, they can pick up the phone and say, You know, I saw this in Tampa Bay Magazine that looks like fun. SB: I didn't realize that. MB: Yeah, that's AF: Well, see, and part of that is SB: Significant. AF: that they were closed events not because they were meant to be closed, but if you don't get the word out, everybody will say, Well we're sending out 500 invitations. Well, fine. The truth of the matter is, 500 invitations, as compared to 300,000 people reading about it in the magazine that the people you want to get are the new people that have moved into town that aren't on your list yet, that nobody knows. We're constantly amazed MB: And that live in another town. AF: how we get ou Isn't The Patels lived here for years. Nobody knew who they were. And then all of a sudden, everybody knows the Patels. Well we found out there are a lot of Patels other than SB: The Patels. Yeah. AF: the Patels who are also giving, et cetera. But that there are lot of people that come to events because they moved into town, they kept the magazine, and they go, Oh, look at this, Storybook Ball. Gee that sounds like fun. Let us call u p and get something. We're amazed we've chaired the New Years Eve Ball for the officers. Every year we end up getting at least 20 to 30 new couples that nobody really knows who they really are SB: That's terrific. AF: Well, we came into to wn, we were looking for something to do, et and then they become [End Tape 1, Side 2] ___


32 [Tape 2, Side 1] SB: We're continuing in an interview with Margaret Word Burnside and Aaron Fodiman. It's October 3, [2006], and we have been talking abo ut the Tampa Bay Magazine And we will continue with that. Aaron, you were I think AF: We're talking about the number of people that are looking to get involved in the d Wine Society. We were amazed how many people wanted to meet new people that they live in a certain confined group where they don't get to see a lot of people from other parts of Tampa Bay. They love the Food and Wine Society because they come and they ge t to have dinner with other people that have similar interests and that's the thing that you find. That most of the people that are involved in the charities, in the arts, had very similar interests with all the other people that are involved. They moved h ere from all over the world, not just from all over the country. SB: Extraordinary. AF: And it's a SB: What's bringing people to this area? AF: Everything from MB: Just look around! AF: retirement. MB: It's gorgeous! [Laughs] SB: [Laughs] AF : One of the new members to our Food and Wine Society is the fellow that was hired by Tom James to run Tom James Financial. Wonderful couple. So you know, you don't realize Or well, your very good friends, the Lands. They came here because they transferred from Birmingham. SB: Yes. AF: What a difference they've been able to make! And they're the very type of people that are interested in all the different things that are going on. SB: He [Eric Land] came to run the Channel 8, but decided to make this h is


33 AF: His home. SB: last stop. So he accepted AF: Absolutely. SB: the COO position with the Bucs. MB: And how wonderful for our area. AF: And for the Bucs and for them. And we find that's the story over and over and over again. But people are moving here for jobs, they're moving here because it's a beautiful place to live. They're moving here for reasons that we can't fathom. We've met a lot of people that are moving here to take care of their parents because their parents have reached a stage SB: Sure. AF: that they need somebody there. SB: To what extent are you making a difference in people coming here? With the magazine, with your networking clubs AF: Well MB: Actually, we know that the magazine gets sent to people who are conside ring moving here, or if businesses are trying to hire somebody away from some place else. They'll send them the magazine SB: Wow. MB: Look at this place! AF: Eric and Cindy knew all about us before they moved here. SB: Really? AF: Because Channel 8 is typical of one of the businesses here that, when they're recruiting somebody, our magazine is what's sent. SB: Is it that interesting. AF: Now, think about this. Do you want to send them the St. Pete Ti mes ? Did you see the front page of the St. Pete Times today? Tampa Tribune ? There's murders, there's scandal


34 SB: Right. AF: there's everything in the world. You're trying to get people to move here. Tampa Bay Magazine really looks like it's from the C hamber of Commerce. SB: It does. AF: Okay. SB: I have to say. AF: It really does look like SB: It's so positive, yeah. AF: it's from the Chamber of Commerce. And you go through and you go through, and you look at what we're talking about and this is what the people want. Years ago, when they were trying to build bring the San Francisco baseball team here, we had heard one of the biggest problems was that the managers and star players, et cetera said, We don't want to go to Tampa Bay, what are we going to do there? You can't move us out of San Francisco. And you realize that we present to the world an image of Tampa Bay. We hear it from all over. We travel all the time. People see the magazine. Universally, we get the remark, We had no idea it was such a beautiful, wealthy area. SB: What a compliment. AF: People will say to us, Well, why don't you put in an average home. We say, Because people don't want to see an average home. We feature multi million dollar homes. People look at the multi milli on dollar homes, and even if that's not they're going to buy, that's the type of community they want to live in. SB: They're interested. AF: They're interested. You don't have to want that. When you look at the people at our magazine, everybody looks l ike they're having a good time. Why? We don't do candid shots. As you know, we set up every shot. we take a multitude of shots. We want to make sure that every photograph in our magazine makes the people that are being photographed look happy and wonderful and the type of people that somebody else looks at and says, Gee, I'd like to know them. SB: Even at events that are pretty much AF: At events, yeah!


35 SB: events, you do stage it a little bit so that they look good? AF: Yeah, well not only that, we stage things that people don't think about. We never stage people that aren't married to each other together. Okay. Got it? SB: Can I ask why you do that or ? AF: We do that. We are very careful of who we put into the photographs. We don't want anybod y to misunderstand. We don't want anybody to go, Well why are they there together? SB: It's extraordinary AF: You know we saw SB: The thought you put into that. AF: Yeah, we put a lot of thought into each one. We've thought into, how do you write it up? Do you feature him? Do you feature her? Is she called the wife? Is it she get the last name and he gets the other name? SB: Sounds time consuming. MB: We spend a lot of time. AF: There' s an awful lot that goes into SB: A lot of protocol. AF : every single item that we do. And it's always with the concept of presenting things in their best light. We have a silly thing magazine. SB: That's interesting. MB: Because it's slang. AF: We think they're c hildren. SB: Okay. Interesting. AF: We, we were both raised MB: And we have, we try not to have slang in the magazine. We spell out the words SB: Very interesting.


36 MB: We even spell out some of the numbers that say, the newspaper wouldn't spell out. SB: Very interesting. AF: Or, or taking MB: It just looks classier. AF: pictures of children. We will not take a picture of child unless their parent gives us the permission. SB: That's wonderful. MB: Y eah. AF: I mean, because we understand. The people that we deal with MB: Are concerned. AF: that can be a very touchy situation. SB: That's very thoughtful. Tell me your criteria for covering events. I mean, I've lived here long enough to know that years ago, during the week, you would have maybe one event. Now there's an event just about every night of the week. MB: of the week. There are more events SB: How do you choose? MB: in one night. SB: How do you choose? AF: Okay. Let me tell you again. We very much both were raised as creatures of very proper social conventions. Our parents told us, One, you don't go any place you're not invited. SB: Okay. AF: Two, whomever you accept, that's where you go. So even if the girl you really want t o take to the prom tells you she's now available, if you already asked somebody else, that's where you go. So if somebody's already asked us, we've committed. That's where we go. There's no


37 MB: Unless we're out of town or something. AF: such thing as SB: That's terrific. AF: we got a better offer. Okay? SB: That's wonderful. AF: So we have people I had somebody call me up today to mark down March 26 for their event. MB: And a lot of the groups will call us from their committee meeting, so the y're talking about a year down the road. AF: But and they'll often call to clear, to see whether or not there's another big event SB: What else. AF: that's going on. SB: Oh that's terrific. AF: Now we've had that situation where we've certain grou ps say, You know, you're going against so and so that night. [Magazine's response] Yes, we've discussed it, that's the only night we have available. [Group's reply] Okay, we just think you're going to have a problem. SB: It's extremely important to have. Extremely important. AF: And years ago, we thought about doing a calendar that people could and we found out, no, each group wants to do it [at] their time, and very seldom have we ever had a group change SB: But just AF: even SB: the fact you can call. AF: Yeah. But at least MB: Right. SB: It's such a community


38 AF: you can call and find out ahead of time from us. Because we're sitting there looking at it and going, No we don't have anything on our calendar. Does that mean nothing will c ome up? No, but at least you know at this point you're there. And at this point, we can say, Yes, we will come and cover that. And on certain nights we'll try and cover two or three. Last Thursday night there were three major events that we had that we h ad to cover. SB: So what did you do? AF: We went to all three. MB: We went to all three. AF: Fortunately MB: But we were still leaving out other ones. AF: Yeah. SB: Oh, gosh. AF: But fortunately MB: But there are more than three per night now. AF: Yeah. But fortunately, they were at staggered times so we could do it. Two of them were relatively close together. The third one was over at the Seminole MB: Hard Rock Hotel. AF: Hard Rock Hotel. But the truth is, we can get almost any place in t his area within the half an hour. SB: All the communities? AF: All the communities SB: In corpus? MB: Yes. SB: Oh my gosh.


39 AF: I mean, when people sit there and talk about, Well, it's this, it's that. We were in St. Petersburg. We were at the Sem inole [Hard] Rock a half an hour after we left the Fine Arts SB: That's good. AF: in. They had the Friends of the Arts Awards that night. But there's certain ones that you know, Cameroo SB: You just can't. AF: go someplace else. SB: I do have to ask if you have favorites. I hate to put you on the spot, but MB: That's AF: Well that's never on the spot, because we don't even have to look at each other to tell you our favorite. SB: I' d like to know individually though, if I may. AF: Well, together, it's New Year's Eve, because MB: The Florida Orchestra. AF: That's our, that's our SB: You chair it. AF: party. MB: We give up family trips to be home for that. And it's fabulous. SB: It's spectacular. It is spectacular. AF: Yeah. This year, we're supposed to be with Margaret's mother MB: In Antarctica. AF: in Antarctica. And we said, We can't! MB: We said, No thank you. AF: It's, you know we're committed to this, that's w hat we do.


40 SB: I know they appreciate it. MB: So that's our very favorite. AF: Now you can tell your favorite. MB: One of my favorites is the UPARC Party SB: What is what is this? MB: And see that's very much Clearwater event, but more and more p eople from Tampa and St. Petersburg are coming. But I was on the foundation board for a lot of years, and have just always liked that party. SB: What is it? What is the organization? MB: It's what more of the events used to be where they have them in a private home I MB: It's like HARP or AF: How could anybody not know She c ouldn't understand the question! SB: [Laughs] MB: [Laughs]. Well you have HARP over here, which is another one of our favorite groups. SB: Which stands for? MB: They've changed their name now SB: I forget what it stands for. MB: It's Hillsborough AF: Hillsborough Associations of Retarded Children MB: But that's not AF: but it's now all changed. MB: That' s not it anymore. That's what they all used to be.


41 AF: And UPARC was that too. MB: There's a Pinellas one, and UPARC is upper Pinellas PARC is Pinellas. SB: But it's helping retarded youth. MB: Retarded, and just people with disabilities. AF: And it's no longer youth because MB: And it's no longer youth because now they're living longer. SB: I see. MB: And so the clients are g rowing up. SB: That's wonderful. AF: And their parents are dying before them, which never happened before. MB: Yeah, so you know SB: Oh my goodness. AF: Before if you had a retarded child the odds were that child was going to die before you did. Things have so changed. SB: But they truly they really need help. MB: A group of new problems that they've all had to deal with. I mean, good problems, but they have to make arrangements. SB: That's wonderful of you to help. MB: But that's actually all, we love those groups. And the various art centers. We've been very involved in the Dunedin Art Center for years. I was on the board there before I even met Aaron. And we, we really like all of the groups. They all try so hard and do so much. Our favor ites I would say are the ones that the people are really in there, working hard and doing the work and it's not such a big business. SB: More sincerity. AF: See now, I interpreted her question differently. MB: Right.


42 AF: She wasn't asking what group, she was asking what events. So you think of things like MB: Well, okay, of the events. AF: the Storybook Ball, which is MB: Because it has a great theme. AF: Great theme. SB: But they usually benefit a group. AF: Oh yes. MB: Oh they all do. SB : So I do understand why you MB: The Storybook Ball benefits the Ronald McDonald house. And that's an overall Tampa Bay group. AF: And sometimes it changes. Like this year, we're chairing the Festival of Trees that started off benefiting one group, and over the years it's evolved. So the event is still very similar, but now it benefits MB: UPARC. AF: a whole other group. SB: Who does it benefit? MB: Now it, U UPARC again. SB: Oh, Okay. MB: But that's you know, within the last couple of years. A F: So there have been a lot of different charity events. There's another great organization in St. Petersburg I'm sure you've never heard about, the Queen Of Hearts Ball. SB: That's true I haven't! MB: That one goes back a lot of years.


43 AF: And every year they select princesses and a Queen of Hearts. And the Queen of Hearts is the woman that they feel has done the most for charity in the area. And they do this fundraiser and they pick different groups to benefit every year. SB: Sounds wonderful. MB : Yeah, I think this year there are either two or three charitable groups that that will benefit. SB: That's terrific. Now have you covered all your favorites? MB: Oh well SB: I know there's so many! MB: we couldn't even begin to cover all of our favorites! AF: No, no, we could sit here all day MB: And go on and on. AF: Because coming up very quickly, another favorite, is the Broadway Ball at the event. So SB: And benefiting the AF: And benefiting the youth. And there again there's so many events that end up changing over the time. I started the Taste of Pinellas years ago, which benefits All Children's Hospital. A very big event, they just had their tw entieth anniversary I think. SB: Oh my gosh. AF: And we don't go there anymore because it's outdoors. When we were younger, we didn't mind walking around in the heat, et cetera. Now it's like, we've got to SB: It's also very well attended. AF: Yeah, very well attended. SB: So it's kind of like a zoo. AF: And well now it's moved up to three days from one day.


44 SB: Oh my gosh. AF: Margaret was on the original committee for Clearwater Jazz Holiday. Fabulous event. SB: Extraordinary. AF: We loved going there. MB: And another one we love is Art Harvest, which is the Clearwater, Dunedin Junior League's Annual Art Show. This year we're the honorary chairs of it. SB: Wonderful. MB: And so we're going to have a patron's party for them. They haven' t had a patron's party. So we thought, they need that. SB: That's extraordinary. AF: And then of course Tampa's Gasparilla Art Show is wonderful way to meet all our friends, see great art, pick up wonderful buys of art. And it's just fabulous. We used to go two days in a row. I mean MB: And we're especially fond of the local artists. And these art shows SB: You know a lot of MB: are a good way to SB: local artists. AF: Yes. SB: I know. And you help them as we ll MB: We try to, yes. SB: in your magazine. SB: That's great. MB: And we're very proud of it.


45 SB: Extraordinary. AF: We're hoping one day, that's one of our legacies that we'd li ke to give. One of the local museums our collection of local art. SB: That's terrific. AF: Because we have I bought the first piece that Duncan McClellan ever did. SB: The very first? AF: The very first! I found Duncan McClellan at an art show. And I went up to buy the SB: Oh my goodness. AF: And I said, He says, shop at the airport, et cetera I said, And I went out, I got him a commission to do a hundred pieces for Mease Hospital Foundation. SB: My gosh! MB: He wasn't sure he could do that AF: Well, see this is another thing. SB: That's extraordina ry! AF: We were working with Mease Hospital. They wanted an idea what they could do to Well, start an arbor vitae society. And we'll give every And they said, W ell how are SB: [Laughs] AF: [Laughs] They're g oing [to] line up! SB: And did they line up? AF: Oh, of course! SB: Oh that's extraordinary. AF: I mean, they you know because


46 SB: And Duncan was one? AF: Duncan was one. And he said, I got it worked out for you. We're going to do a paperweight, they don't have to be We'll put it on a base, you get a brass plate, slap it on there SB: [To Margaret] It occu rs to me your husband has turned into a salesman! MB: He has! SB: Which was your goal? MB: Right. SB: How do you like that? AF: Yeah. SB: [laughs] MB: [laughs] AF: And then Christopher, Christopher Still we his very first show when he was still an art student, we used to donate a hundred dollars to him to buy SB: Oh my gosh. AF: paint MB: The Dunedin Art Center. AF: The Dunedin Art Center. SB: That's extraordinary. MB: We were on the board. SB: Extraordinary. MB: And for years, I mea n, even before I knew Aaron SB: An amazing artist.


47 MB: Christopher was so appreciative, he would come to our board meetings to show us what he was doing for this measly little hundred dollars, or maybe even fifty dollars that we had given him. AF: Bu t we put him on the cover [of] our magazine when he had MB: One of his pieces of work. AF: his first show. SB: Oh gosh. AF: For his very first show. And I think we probably have the largest collection of his artwork. SB: That's amazing. MB: Possi bly. AF: I'm pretty sure we do. SB: Speaking of covers, Aaron I know you're very proud of those covers. Could you tell how they've evolved? MB: Well, there's we have to like it. We have to know that it's going to look good on somebody's coffee table i n their living room. It has to be attractive and something that is appealing, subject a new piece of artwork and think, You know? That'd make a nice cover. So then it can become the cover. Just they're varied. We now do a lot of artwork, we didn't used to so much. We used to have people on the cover a long time ago, and decided, that really isn't a good idea. SB: Why? MB: People come and go, not everybody knows who they are anyway. And th ey're basically they're not as attractive on your table or on a newsstand as SB: That's true. MB: a pretty piece of artwork. I mean we even had a piece of [Dale] Chihuly on the one cover, when the big Chihuly exhibit was coming. SB: How many covers h ave you done? AF: Well, we've done our twentieth year


48 MB: Last May June. AF: in May June, and there's six per year, so that's 120. So we're now at 122. Our next cover will be our 123 rd cover. SB: Oh, my gosh. That's extraordinary. AF: And we have added a couple of covers where we just got down to the end and I just Okay, let's use this photo, I Because sometimes we plan, and it works out beautifully and other times we sit there and we just we thought we were going to use something on the cover, something else happens. Sometimes an artist has said that they were going to do a piece and then never shows u p. beautiful pictures of homes on the covers. Our readers like that. And it also tells what you're going to see inside. There are always beautiful homes in the magazine s. SB: How much of this magazine is you you make these decisions? MB: All of it. SB: All of it? AF: 110 percent. MB: Every bit of it. We are workaholics. AF: Because I make all the decisions and then she decides, Well, I've decided wrong. SB: [L aughs] Okay. MB: [Laughs] And then fun thing is AF: [Laughs] MB: everybody SB: [Laughs] Sounds like a good partnership! MB: But luckily, we really tend to think the same, so our employees, who are wonderful and really are capable of making decisi ons know to come to us. But they can't play us against each other. If they can come to one of us and say, Well I Let's do this. And whatever answer say Aaron or I give, when they go to the other one thinking, Well,


49 maybe we'll get another answer and it'll be my way they invariably get the same answer. So SB: That's great. AF: I don't think we've ever disagreed on a cover. You know? I think well, when one or the other of us said, Gee, this would be a nice cover. Generally the other one says, Yeah, that w ould be, that's great. SB: Okay, you write the editorial. When you open the magazine, you are the editorial. And Margaret, you have a column. Do you get ideas from each other? AF: Okay. SB: Do you consult? AF: My editorial I write and then Margaret e dits. SB: Okay. AF: Okay. Margaret knows every once in a while, I'll put things in there and then sit and MB: And the funny thing is, the other I like to read things last. You know, whoever else is g oing to read it, go ahead and do your thing, then I'm going to have the final thing on it. But I can hear them in there saying, [makes laughing noises], Isn't this funny? And so they'll say, Oh yes, well this will be cute and fun. And then come and tell me I can't AF: And they know I don't care. Whatever Margaret says is the final word. MB: And he d Okay, do you want SB: Oh, interesting. AF: If it if it meets Margaret's criteria, then I'm happy. SB: That's good enough. How about for your column, [Margaret]? MB: He reads it. Usually. she generally decides exactly which questions she's going to answer. And I read it, but I


50 don't think I've ever r eally done anything other than some grammatical editing or something like that. SB: Wow. AF: Ear MB: You don't even always read it. r. He'll write some and I write some. And then we'll put it together, and you know, so it will flow. [Tape paused] SB: If I had to ask you, sort of as a wrap up, what you would like people to remember you for, I know of course the magazine would be one of them, but do you have any other areas that you'd like to be remembered for? MB: I would say that we were very much involved in the community and helped to bring it together and bring all of these wonderful people that live here together. Because we've made so many great friends, and we would like to be remembered as friends in return. SB: That's great. AF: And again, I'm just the opposite of Margaret. I really don't care if anybody remembers me. To me the most important thing is that I'm having an a ffect while I'm gone, it's over. I don't really care. But I do passionately care right now. And there's nothing I enjoy more than being able to see something that I can Gee, I helped that SB: That's great. Well believe me you both are helping to make it happen. And I can't thank you enough. Just not just for this interview today but for everything you're doing in Tampa Bay. You, you both are wonderful. Thanks so much. AF: It, it really is our pleasure. MB: Thank you. AF: We really enjoy every bit of it. And we just feel that we're so blessed. And I would say, almost on a daily basis, we look at each other and say, Aren't we lucky to have this kind of life? SB: Isn't that great.


51 MB: And to be able to share it together. SB: Thank you so much, again. AF: Super. [End of Interview]

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Fodiman, Aaron.
Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside
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interviewed by Suzette Berkman.
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Tampa arts and culture oral history project
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Interview conducted on October 3, 2006.
Aaron Fodiman and Margaret Word Burnside, founders of Tampa Bay Magazine, discuss their life's work. Some of the topics they discuss include Margaret's family and growing up in Florida; Aaron's education and his life in Washington, D.C.; how the couple met; and their life together in the Tampa Bay area. The couple also discusses their passion for the community in which they live and the various charitable organizations they support. The interview includes a detailed history of the founding of Tampa Bay Magazine along with Margaret and Aaron's vision for the magazine's future.
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Burnside, Margaret Word.
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