I first caught wind of Fort Wayne, Indiana’s almost-obliteration after reading Michael Martone’s essay/story, “Fort Wayne Is Seventh On Hitler’s List.” As a Fort Wayne native, I was shocked by the title’s claim. Impressed, too—at least a little—that our city was once important enough to warrant Hitler’s wrath. Admittedly, being seventh on a bombing list is a bit of a dubious honor, and, as the Fort Wayne Visitors Bureau knows all too well, one that hardly translates to tourist dollars. Yet what we lack in tourism we make up for with hometown pride; the old timers are still known to puff out their chests and recount stories about the time we were nearly in Hitler’s crosshairs. So why did Hitler allegedly take an interest in our city?
In March of 1949 the town of Churubusco, Indiana (population 1,200) made national headlines as a result of a turtle sighting in the murky waters surrounding Fulk Lake. This wasn’t just any turtle, but a turtle of monstrous proportions—400 or so pounds of skin and shell, as big as a car, or close.
“I’m more interested in challenging the broad belief that genre/form categories are solid or important. I consider this the first lesson of art history: there is no platonic form. No novel, or poem, or play (or woman, or white person, if we branch out of the arts). These categories exist as cultural reference points for better and worse, but the fences are arbitrary and constantly shifting.”