This is one of my all-time favorite stories I love to tell people. Mainly because it's so outlandish that it's very hard to believe. But everything has been verified as being the 100% honest-to-God truth.
Now, first of all, I'm not telling this story to be mean or spiteful. It's just rather unbelievable that there was a person with this name.
For a number of years, Iowa girls basketball was a religion in the state. The state tournament would regularly sell out, the gyms across the state would be packed full to watch the hometown girls play. Girls basketball was a small-town game - none of the larger schools played girls basketball.
And the rules were six-on-six - you'd basically have two teams, an offense and a defense, three on each side on the floor. The guards were the defense, the forwards were the offense. Some of the forwards could put up some pretty hefty offensive numbers during the course of a game. Individual point totals of 50 points or more weren't uncommon.
One such high-scoring player from the early 70's came from Moravia, a small town in southern Iowa. And her name was Fonda Dicks. I'm not kidding you. Fonda Dicks. She was actually a year older than me and would come up to Newton in the summer and play basketball against the boys at the old YMCA. And sometimes she'd bring a hot little blond girl by the name of Molly Van Benthuysen - who became the famous "Machine Gun Molly", Molly Bolin of the old professional Women's Basketball League - a long ago precursor for the modern day WNBA.
Along with a girl from nearby Colfax, Marla Shuey, they'd take on the local guys on 3-on-3 games to 10 baskets. And more often than not, they'd win. It was embarrassing, but I sure liked to guard Molly. She was a unit!
Anyway, as always, I'm digressing...
Moravia with Fonda Dicks and Molly Van Benthuysen was a good basketball team, not a great one. They'd win 80% of their games, but get knocked off in the sub-state each year by some team. But Fonda's name would assure them of notoriety each Friday night when Jim Zabel, the longtime sports anchor on WHO-TV in Des Moines would give the scores. He'd always give the Moravia score last and it would be something along the lines of, "And Moravia beat Moulton-Udell tonight, 82 to 35. And FONDA DICKS (he'd almost yell it) scored 56 points tonight." And there would be this smattering of somewhat supressed laughter coming from off camera.
I mean, come on - what kind of parents would name their daughter Fonda if their last name was Dicks? Were they Amish and didn't have a clue? Were they jokesters and wanted to play a cruel joke on their daughter for life?
I played basketball against her at the YMCA in Newton and she seemed like a nice girl. We suspected she had a crush on one of my buddies from Newton, Gary Van Gorp, who was a big basketball player when I was in high school. We used to tease Van Gorp, "So, Gary, is Fonda Dicks really fond of dicks?"
Kids can be so mean.
After I got out of high school, I never heard much about Fonda Dicks. She went to college - I believe it was at William Penn in Oskaloosa. One of my high school classmates, Karen Wood, went to school with Fonda Dicks. I ran into Karen one time in the late 70's and we got to talking about what was going on and she mentioned that she knew Fonda Dicks pretty well from college. Karen thought she was a nice gal, she handled the jokes about her name in a good manner. But then Karen dropped the bomb - Fonda was getting married. To a guy named Randy Peters.
So she was going from Fonda Dicks to FONDA PETERS! Holy shit! Fate was dealing her the shittiest cards in life!
I would tell this story to people over the years and I was always met with incredulation. "No way! That's not true!" It got to the point that I thought it was so outrageous about her marrying a guy by the name of Randy Peters that I began to wonder.
I used to call on a guy by the name of John Cosby who ran an appliance and audio/video store in Centerville, not too far from Moravia. One night a number of years ago, I hooked up with John and his girlfriend at the time, Kari Kaster, one night for dinner when I was in Centerville. It turned out that Kari was from Moravia.
I said, "OK, I've got to ask the question. Fonda Dicks."
She said, "Yes, I know Fonda Dicks. Only she's Fonda Peters now."
I exclaimed, "She married a guy named Randy Peters, right?"
She said, "Yes, how do you know that?"
I had to tell her that I knew a college friend of Fonda Dicks and she told me years ago that she was marrying Randy Peters. I asked her, "What are her parents like? Were they clueless? Were they mean?"
Kari said, "No, they are very nice people. Real down home people. Very salt of the earth."
I asked if they had any idea what the Dicks were were doing when they named their daughter Fonda. She said, "I don't know. I've never asked them."
She then said, "It gets better. Fonda's younger brother is named Nick."
I said, "Nick Dicks? Holy shit! Their parents are something else!"
And Kari said, "And Fonda's best friend all through school at Moravia was named... Are you ready for this?"
I said, "Yes, I can take it."
I about doubled over in pain from laughing so hard. "Fonda Dicks and Muffy Cox were best friends at Moravia High School? Holy shit!"
I was just beside myself.
Now that I've had confirmation that the stories AND names are true, I had to share it.
And I'm still shaking my head...