When Stewart Boyd, 59, retired three years ago from a clerk job he had held for 32 years, he figured on relaxing and taking care of the house. He had time on his hands.

But having all that time got very boring, Boyd said. Worse, he began feeling guilty about taking an afternoon nap because he felt that he had not done enough to deserve one.

Now, Boyd said, he can take deep, enjoyable naps because he does something each morning that keeps him on his toes and tired most of the day -- he bakes biscuits and prepares salad for a McDonald's restaurant in Northeast Washington.

Boyd is one of 11 graduates of an innovative four-week program sponsored by the District's Office on Aging and McDonald's restaurants to train and employ retired residents at McDonald's outlets throughout the city.

Yesterday, graduates ranging in age from 55 to 65 received "McMasters" diplomas and celebrated their return to work with friends and family at a McDonald's on New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE.

"This is exciting," Bertha Young said as she received her diploma from Mayor Marion Barry, who congratulated the first graduating class of the program.

"As you get older, you need something to do -- to make life more useful," said Young, who retired four years ago as custodial supervisor for American University. "We're just as active as they {young adults} are. We can strut and all that, too."

According to officials with the office on aging, the program is the first continuing training program for retired, senior citizens in the city and the second one in the country. A similar program, which started a year ago in Maryland, has graduated 60 senior citizens to work as hosts and hostesses; biscuit, salad and french fry makers, and custodians.

Although many organizations seek and hire individual senior citizens, McMasters is the only program that trains and places a large number of the elderly near their residences, according to officials with the office on aging, who say they hope that other organizations will provide such programs for retired people. Veronica Pace, executive director of the office, said Wendy's restaurants has approached the city government about beginning a similar program.

Although only 4 percent of the work force is made up of people over 60 years of age, the elderly make up 17 percent of the city's population and constitute its fastest-growing age group, Pace said.

Companies are recognizing that senior citizens are a resource, said Carolyn Mill-Bowden, a spokeswoman for the office on aging. "They are experienced, dependable, excellent role models for other employes and have skills they need."

Because of the success of the programs in the District and Maryland, McDonald's officials said, they plan to start statewide programs in Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Carolina and Arizona. In addition, six major cities are being considered for such programs.

"Senior citizens are not the only source for employes," said Glenn Kikuchi, McDonald's district manager. "But they do round out our work force."

For retired nurse Hazel Lucas, a McMasters graduate, working for McDonald's is no work at all.

"It's fun," the 65-year-old Lucas said. "It's such a joy to work with young kids and listen to their slang."