Fonda High School – People You Never Forget

by John Tischer on January 25, 2011 · 2 comments

I thought the summer baseball info I had in here was in 1966 however, my good friend Doug Evans advised me it was 1967 so it is out of sequence but still worth reading. It led me to think about talking about people in Fonda High School that you never forget.

I think one of the first people was Charley Alpers. Charley was the school custodian and beloved by all. Always had a smile on his face, loved the kids and they loved him. I think Charlie’s last year was 1966 and he was replaced by Mick Wycoff.

Another person I always remember was Lynn Hersom. Lynn seemed to always drive the bus on most of our trips and always wore what I would call a train engineers hat. I don’t remember much about Lynn’s driving ability, know he would always grind the gears when he shifted and someone would always yell ” Grind another pound off for me Lynn.” I do know we always got there and the bus was always warm after the games.

The school cafetieria cooks. Nancy Hersom, Helen Hersom and Alberta Baker were three of my favorites. They always gave me extra food during lunch time. Sometimes in the mornings you would come to school and couldn’t wait for lunch as you could smell the cinnamon rolls baking. The food honestly was the best, just like eating at home. I doubt the kids today get as good of food as we did with the Government Food Nazis that exist today.

Michael O’Brien- History teacher. Excellent teacher, very bright, wonderful sense of humor and you looked forward to his class. Mr. O’Brien allowed good debates on subjects, was interested in the kids and their well being. Mr. O’Brien took the time to get involved and wanted you to be successful. Mr. O’Brien and I went to Des Moines to listen to Ronald Reagan make a speech in the fall of 1967. Was a wonderful trip to make with him and I learned so much from him and about him. Mr. O’Brien also got it arranged so we could participate in the Model United Nations at the University of Northern Iowa. Our senior year we were Australia. The meetings with the other countries and the involvement with the other students was great and alot of the credit goes to Mr. O’Brien for getting us the opportunity to go. Mr. O’Brien now lives in Boone and was in the Iowa Legistaure at one time. Even though he ran and won as a Democrat, he still ranks very high in my book. lol

Lee Hurlburt- Science Teacher- Girls Coach. Mr. Hurlburt was an excellent teacher and I remember him having two little girls who would always sit with me during the girls game. Mr. Hurlburt had a 1963 Black Chevy SuperSport with a 409 engine in it. One day Dennis Stafford, Nick Baskerville and myself had to go somewhere to get something for school. Mr. Hurlburt allowed us to use his car. Dennis Stafford had his license and was going to show us his driving skills so out we go. Dennis punched it as we would say, shifted into second gear, the car is now flying, went to shift into third gear and threw it back into first gear. He blew out the clutch plates I know for sure. We limped the car back to school. Funny thing, next day Mr. Hurlburt just couldn’t quite figure out why his car wasn’t acting right. Mr Hurlburt passed away several years ago and is missed very much.

Janice Hughes- Vocal Music. I thought the world of Mrs. Hughes, she loved her music so much and got alot out of us. We always did well at contest and she would work endlessly with you on your own individual solos. She was a wonderful teacher.

Michael Becker- Guidance Counselor. Mr. Becker seemed to run interference for everyone. If you had an problem, you could go to Mr. Becker. A wonderful man, very positive in his approach, always trying to help you in anyway that he could. Mr. Becker passed away several years ago after a lengthy illness. He will be missed by all of us.

Jim Weber and Leland Weiner- Mathmatics- Both were excellent teachers and both knew math. Unfortunately for them they had a very hard time passing on their knowledge to me. Mr. Weber was also the golf coach and drove a beautiful 1964 Chevy Supersport, Dark Blue, white bucket seats. Very fast. I have lost track of Mr. Weber and unfortunately for us no one seems to be able to find him. Mr. Weiner attended some of our class reunions and last I knew he had retired from being a math teacher and was last at Iowa Central Community College. I remember our 25th reunion. Mr. Weiner came to it, he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was the President of a manufacturing company. He looked at me and said,  “How can that be?  You were so bad in math!”  I looked back at him and told him that I could now hire people who were good at math, so I didn’t need to be.  End of conversation…

Rhonda Johnson- Instrumental music.  Very good teacher, horrible trumpet player.  I enjoyed being in her class and learned alot from her though I am sure she would tell you how frustrated she would get with me and rightfully so.  At a pre-contest concert at the school my Jr. year she decided that we would play Bugler’s Holiday at the concert. Sheral Adams, myself and Mrs. Johnson played the piece.  We got through it but both Mrs. Johnson and Sheral had problems hitting the higher notes.  It was fun and I believe that everyone who attended enjoyed our efforts.

Wally Parman- Commercial and Boys Athletics. Mr. Parman was the business instructor and typing teacher and helped with the annual. Mr. Parman liked to go around the room with his pointer while you were typing and bop you on the head if you moved your head to look at the keys. I’m surprised Nick Baskerville and myself don’t have permanent damage from all of the hits we took. We learned on the old manual typewriters and then one day they brought in an electric. We all got to use it, it was incredible how lightly you had to touch the keys unlike the manual ones where you had to really exert some pressure to type. Amazing how much technology has changed in 43 years. Mr. Parman was an excellent coach and motivator, however, he did have a tendency to start to write off the seniors as the season got closer to the end. I really only have one instance where I thought he was totally wrong and that was not starting Chuck Orr in the sectionals against Alta. It bothered Chuck so much I think he was 1 for 12 from the field in shooting and just didn’t play his game. We have always wondered why you would take someone out of your lineup who was scoring 16.2 points a game and put someone in to replace him who barely played. We also have always wondered why Coach Parman never took Chuck aside and advised him of the change. Mr. Parman went on to be an administrator, coached basketball with Mr. Skinner in Palmer when they won all of their state championships and now is back in Missouri.

Tom Adams- Principal. Mr. Adams was the first person in the Fonda School I met. In my opinion an excellent Principal who didn’t put up with any nonsense. In those days you just didn’t mess around like they do today. I remember Dennis Stafford popped off in study hall and got his face slapped. I remember Verylyn Myer shoving Bob Gehrig into the locker and advising him that he best cease and desist, which he did. Today, the kids would sue you, or go get a gun and shoot you. We wonder why things are they way they are, look first at the homes these kids come out of, then look at the schools and then finally our government and then you know who really is in control. It very many times is not the adults.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Candy Cole Lee September 18, 2012 at 5:04 am

I remember most of these people and teachers. I loved dear old Charlie
He was such a wonderful person! And I sure do remember our
Wonderful cook and great food! It was such a great treat to have
Pizza and chocolate milk with fresh chocolate cookies.
My first memory of the Fonda School was in 1953 in kindergarten
With Miss Hill. We all had mats or rugs to take naps on but, Bobby
Cuppy, Bobby Siedler,and I use to just slide all over the concrete floor
And not nap!

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tammy alpers October 12, 2012 at 1:38 am

Charley Alpers was my grandpa and it’s so nice reading such wonderful things about him was a truly wonderful person

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