A Time of Change

A Time of ChangeBy Zandra Wolfgram, Editor

I’m a child of change. My father was a career man in the Navy, so we moved nearly every three years. When my mother passed away a few years ago, I wasn’t surprised to find fully packed boxes in her attic. She was always preparing for the next move.

At last count I’ve lived in 13 cities. I moved to Fort Walton Beach 12 years ago and currently live in Destin. Though I’ve lived many places, when I drive over the William T. Marler bridge and see the sweeping view of the Gulf, the jetties and the Destin harbor, I still cannot believe I live here. It is unreal. This is one move I don’t regret.

In the past year and a half:  I started working for myself, bought a new car, moved to a different neighborhood, enrolled my kids in a new school, adopted a new dog — and joined Emerald Coast Magazine as editor.

This year has been about new beginnings. But as much as it’s been about embracing the new, it’s also been about reconnecting to my past.

I may have read “Harriet the Spy” one too many times as a girl. I carried a notebook everywhere I went. Much like the book’s heroine, I recorded everything that happened in my day. I observed unsuspecting family members, while peering out of closets and from around corners. My mom called it being nosey; I’d like to consider it early investigative reporting. After penning stories for my mimeographed high school newspaper, I had ink on my sleeves — literally. And I loved it. As a freshman, I declared journalism as my major and spent many nights churning out the student-run newspaper. I was certain I knew what I wanted to do. And did precisely something else for 20-something years. Well, not completely. As a marketing and communications professional, writing and editing have always been a part of my daily work. Still, too often the publishing projects I’ve most enjoyed were often on “the corner” of my desk. 

I relish the opportunity to put writing and editing front and center, and work with the talented Rowland Publishing team. I have always loved the expression: Change brings opportunity. To be a storyteller in my community … to share the personal stories of the locals — the very people, places and happenings that give the Emerald Coast a true sense of place — is an honor.

You’ll be happy to hear that Wendy Dixon remains on our staff as associate editor, so you’ll still be able to read her fine work on these pages. This change in post allows her to focus even more of her time and talents as editor of Bay Life, our sister magazine in Panama City.

Behind the scenes, we’ve been taking stock and taking time to listen to your suggestions for Emerald Coast Magazine. We thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions through our online reader survey, idea sessions and focus groups. We hope you enjoy seeing many of your wonderful ideas manifested on our pages beginning this spring.

To move forward you have to know where you came from. In this issue, we continue our series on Destin’s founding families in Historicity. We hope you find them as fascinating as we do.

We are all lucky to live in a world-class destination. There are so many fantastic things to do all along the Emerald Coast. We didn’t want to let the tourists have all of the fun, so our “staycation” feature highlights some of our favorite local places to visit.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we detail for you just how three distinctly different local couples celebrated their big day. We dip into the history of chocolate, which is, quite possibly, the sweetest story ever told. And we bring you many more faces and places — some familiar, some new — all found on the Emerald Coast.

Don’t wait for the next reader survey to keep in touch. Please let us know what’s on your mind. Find us on Facebook, visit our website at www.emeraldcoastmagazine.com or e-mail me at zwolfgram@rowlandpublishing.com.

Surely, a little change will always do us good.