It's said that writers write what they know. Well, the same can be said for cartoonists. Cartoonists cartoon what they know. I know about downtown Fort Wayne because I spent countless hours there for different reasons, at different times in my life.
One of the most memorable times was that period of time in the '60s (when I was minus ten years old). Seriously, that period of time was magical. The big department stores, restaurants, specialty, shoe, music and almost any kind of business you can think of. I've often said Fort Wayne was like a miniature New York.
Many times throughout my childhood, my mom would round up my sister and me, to walk to the corner and hop on the bus to travel downtown. Getting off at the corner of Calhoun and Wayne, one of our first stops would be to go into Murphy's to grab lunch or a box of delicious doughnuts. Next, we'd go across the street to the department store called Stillman's. There, we could get on the elevator to go to one of probably four or five different floors to shop. I can almost still hear the elevator operator announcing, "Second floor: Ladies ready-to-wear! Bath linens! Small appliances!"
Of course, that floor didn't interest me. I was thinking, "show me the toys"! Especially, if it was around Christmas. That was the time of the year that Fort Wayne pulled out all the stops. All the windows were decorated and the arch over the main corner of Calhoun and Wayne held a gigantic Christmas tree with over-sized ornaments that were just a strong wind away from being "exhibit A" in damaged car roof lawsuit. In the air, there were Christmas carols that played from who knows where and at this corner, when a bell sounded, it meant that pedestrians were free to cross in any direction, including diagonally.
But perhaps, the biggest deal was the show window at Wolf and Dessauer (we called it "W&D's" for short). There, right before your eyes, was Santa's workshop, Christmas trains, woodland creatures, you name it, if it was magical, it was in those windows!
Many of the Fort Wayne Baby Boomers remember these times and are more than ready to talk your leg off about them. Hence, this cartoon that appeared in the December 2009 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.
Click to see more holiday cartoons.