My Words: Wendy Victora Rudman

After 30 years as a journalist, I’m hanging up my press pass – sort of. You may have known me during my 24 years at the Northwest Florida Daily News. Or, more recently at Crestview News Bulletin and two weekly papers in Santa Rosa County.

I had titles – education reporter, features writer, managing editor, editor and weekly columnist at all of those papers.

I recently decided that I love to write as much as ever. But it’s time to write for me and for any of you who care to read me, of course.

My plan is to write my weekly column – much like the one that was in the other papers and which some of you have told me you’ve been missing as I’ve jumped around a bit this past year or so.

And I’ll write what I’m calling Okaloosa Stories – the stories that I have always loved to tell, that feature people in the county, beautiful places and quirky little tales that say more about what it’s like to live here than all of the front-page stories I’ve written in my years as a journalist.

My coworkers and, I’ve since heard, some in the community called these the Wendy Stories. They were stories that none of the other reporters were fighting me to do, stories that some journalists scorned. But many were stories that readers loved.

And it was my greatest joy to tell them.

I’ve lost track of her over the years and the stories, and I don’t know if she’s still with us. But years ago, a woman came into the newspaper where I was working with a heart-shaped potato that she said was the last one in a bag she’d bought with her husband before he died.

She was hoping to preserve it, but time isn’t kind to potatoes. She wanted a photo of it, so I obliged and shared her story. It was a story that went around the world.

I’m not telling stories now with the hopes that they go around the world. I’ve been there, done that and what really mattered about those stories is that I got to tell them. That my life intersected with someone else’s and I got to write about what – in my opinion – really matters.

We live for as long as we can. We breathe. Sometimes we are grateful for that simple act. We feel the sunshine on our face, the wind on our bare arms.

We love our people and our pets.

We bring our own touch to everything we do, marking it in the smallest of ways that ripple through the world around us.

If you have a story to share with me, please reach out. I’m going to focus on Okaloosa County, the place I’ve called home since 1996 and the place I have written about for all but one of those years.

My email is or you can message me on Facebook at Okaloosa Stories.

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