THE CABALLERO YEARS
1957-1958

'National' Talk in the Air: 1957-58
House Remodeling
Fall, 1957

Enrollment at Sam Houston was record-breaking! There were 3,101 students, with the largest numbers in Business Administration (691), Elementary Education (412), and Vocational Agriculture (302). The proposal set forth last year for a five-day class week was adopted and would go into effect at mid-semester (Recall, Nov. 1957, 1).

Officers for the Fall semester were President Parke Christenberry, 1st Vice President Charles Horton, 2nd Vice President Frank Fontana, Secretary Bill Rowland, and Treasurer Johnny Ragsdale.

There were several Caballeros on the Lowman Rifles and many were given ROTC promotions when school began: they were headed by Lt. Col. Parke Christenberry; others in authority positions in ROTC were Col. Tommy Freeman, Captains Bill Rowland, Frank Fontana, and Gene McMiken, and 2nd Lts. Johnny Ragsdale and Roger Boyd (9/28/57).

The IFC smoker was on October 1; a welcoming speech was given to rushees by IFC President Frank Fontana (9/28/57); 150 men attended (10/5/57). The Cabs had their rush party on October 7 at the American Legion Hall. There were 30 members and 40 rushees (10/12/57). Nine men were pledged: Jerry Harper, Ronnie Riggs, Dan Robinson, Bobby Ray Jones, Ray Knox, Eugene Poldrack, Bedford Mitchell, Frank Bianco, and David Fullerton (10/19/57).

The Cabs met with the CB's, with whom they had signed a "contract" to work together on various projects, such as Homecoming and Pioneer Roundup. They would combine for an All-College dance after Homecoming (10/5/57). Cabs active on campus included Parke Christenberry, elected Councilman-at-Large on the Student Council; Frank Fontana, re-elected President of the Interfraternal Council; Johnny Ragsdale, elected to Scabbard & Blade; and Gene McMiken, Blimp Bell, Frank Fontana, and Tommy Freeman appointed to the Pioneer Roundup Association Executive Committee.

The Cabs remodeled their house in time for Homecoming on October 26 (10/19/57). They had an Open House for alumni before and after the Homecoming parade. Newly-varnished and waxed floors, new wallpaper and curtains, a new living-room couch and furniture, and new carpet in the front hallway and stairs greeted the alumni as they came for the morning reception. "An oil portrait of Sponsor Walter Gintz, done by one of the prison inmates, was hung in the living room" ( Recall, Nov. 1957, 2).

At the game the Cabs sat together at the game as they had done the year before so the men could fraternize and watch the game and the women could talk, since many of the wives were Sam Houston alumni too. About the only good thing about the game was the announcement at half-time that the Caballero float---Dr. Lowman and Sammy the Bearkat shaking hands---won second in the most original category. But other than that, with the unseasonably cold weather and the fact that Sam lost the game, just about everyone was ready to leave and get to the post-game festivities. "But between the liquid additions to the cokes, and Baby Rice's 'game comments,' a good time was had by all" (Recall, Nov. 1957, 1)

For the first time the Cab Alumni had a cocktail party at Homecoming. It was a success and a bigger and better one was planned for the next year. So what did the alums talk about? 2nd Lt. Dempsey Mewbourn, who had graduated the previous May was stationed at Ft. Bliss attending Anit-Aircraft Artillery & Guided Missile School. Bobby Conner had returned from his six month's military obligation and was working in Houston. '55 grad Cotton Greenwell brought his Illinois fiancee to meet his Cab brothers. Kenny Culbreth was going to dental school at the University of Texas branch in Houston. Bobby (Gator) Ellis and his wife had moved to Houston to teach at Galena Park after teaching in Canada. Dickie O'Brien was in Jasper coaching baseball. Hector Long had just received his degree in Pharmacy from the University of Houston and Willis Gresham had just finished law school at the University of Texas and was practicing in West Texas.

The banquet, held at the Plaza, was very congested, since the alumni gathering at Homecoming was growing. Following Bob Samuel's blessing, honored guests were introduced by Alumni President Jerry Martin: Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gintz; Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Darmody, active chapter house director; Mr. and Mrs. Parke Christenberry, current Caballero president; and Jo Ann Altenbert, CB President. Mr. Gintz spoke briefly to the group about the advantages of having an alumni association and the strength it can give the active chapter. George Buckow showed the new membership certificates. Awards were then given. Martin presented past president pins to Cotton Greenwell and Jerry Inman. A trophy case was presented to the active chapter as an alumni gift; it had been the joint effort of the alumni and Mr. Gintz. Tom Burke presented Jerry Martin with the alumni President's medallion.

At the business meeting it was decided to give free memberships to actives within one year of graduation and to continue free memberships to servicemen. A meeting date in Houston to plan the Christmas party was set by the new Board of Directors (Recall, Nov. 1957, 1).

Newly-elected Alumni President Rather and wife Jeanne "burned up the highway between Houston and Huntsville during Homecoming Day. They drove up for the parade and the football game, back down to Big H, where Dan gave the play-by-play of the University of Houston's game that night, and then back to Huntsville after Houston's game, for a late 'waiting for the sunrise' party at the Plaza Hotel" (Recall, Nov. 1957, 2).

The active Cab's Homecoming dance began at 8 p.m. at the VFW Hall. The alumni attended that for about an hour-and-a-half, then went across the street to the Josey Scout Lodge for the "Caballero Alumni's PRIVATE dance." The private party was for two reasons: first the alumni would have a quieter atmosphere to reminisce, and second, it would give more space in the other locale for paying customers, since the Homecoming dance was one of the active chapter's biggest fund raisers.

The active chapter elected Bob Dalehite post graduate student sponsor for the club (11/23/57). The Cabs helped the CB's with their rush (11/9/57). They chartered a bus to the game at SFA (11/16/57). They decided to make a donation for Thanksgiving baskets to the needy. A new club certificate, designed by George Buckow, was adopted. "Mexican sombreros were adopted as the official club headgear" (11/23/57). Hell Week ended on December 14 and initiation took place on Tuesday, December 17 (12/14/57). The Moulin Rouge chairmen were Donald Wright and Bill Mills (11/16/57); it was scheduled for January 31. There would be a change in the Moulin Rouge dance: the Dream Girl would be announced at this time. Bill Stinson was elected chairman of Fight Night, which was scheduled for February 7 (1/11/58).


Investigating Nationals: "Going National"
Spring, 1958

The officers for the spring semester were President Bill Rowland; Reporter Dan Womack; 1st Vice President Gene McMiken; Corresponding Secretary Bill Stinson; 2nd Vice President Donald Wright; Parliamentarian Parke Christenberry; Secretary Johnny Ragsdale; Historian Travis Boyd; IFC Delegates: Frank Fontana, Tommy Freeman, Dan Womack; Treasurer Jack Follis.

Dan Robinson greeted people as they entered the SUB for the Moulin Rouge dance. The floorshow was the best in years, especially the chorus line dancing to "Raunchy." Judy O'Dell was crowned Dream Girl of 1958 (2/8/58).

There were nine bouts and a pee-wee exhibition at the Second Annual Fight Night. Ringside seats were $1.50 and bleacher seats were 90 cents. The first bout of the evening was the Pee-Wee bout: boys under 60 pounds fought to a draw! (2/8/58).

The Cabs had a rush party on Thursday, February 27 (2/22/58). 27 rushees met 32 Cabs at the American Legion Hall. The CB's provided entertainment with a chorus line to "Cool as a Moose" (3/8/58). Fourteen men were pledged: Lloyd Flynt, Larry Green, Jimmy Gumm, Billy Cummins, Jim Tuma, Richard Schwarz, Jon Gregg, Curtis Mathews, Al Rainosek, Kirby Nash, Johnny Francis, Delbert Krc, Madison Powell, and Thurmond Boyd (3/22/58). (After initiation, Billy Cummins was named Best Pledge.)

On March 18 Dr. Lowman met with over 200 members from the social clubs concerning "going national." Each organization was to meet as soon as possible with their alumni and decide which national organization they wished to affiliate with. Dr. Lowman "said that they could be beneficial to the school, but that he wanted only the best fraternities and sororities on the Sam Houston campus." He added that no national organization would be invited to campus until all clubs had decided their proposed affiliation (3/22/58). The Cab actives and alumni met on April 26 to discuss going national (4/26/58).

The Pioneer Roundup changed locales to the Huntsville airport (2/22/58). There would be some new events this year: a dunking pond, a bucking barrel, a novelty picture booth, and several concessions, including barbecue, cotton candy, candied apples, cold drinks, and apple cider (3/1/58). Roger Boyd won the best-trimmed beard award and Dave Fullerton won the award for the best beard before February 1. Johnny Ragsdale and his 8-piece western band played for the Raven Ball, which preceded Pioneer Roundup (4/19/58). One of the best acts of this year's western event was a hoe-down composed of five women dancing with five Cabs: Johnny Ragsdale, Bill Mills, Byron Calfee, Richard Schwarz, and Dan Womack (4/26/58).

On April 20 a most unusual baseball double-header was played between Sam Houston and the University of Houston, "the most publicized college double-header in history." These games incorporated the 3-2-2 system. Instead of the normal four balls-three strikes-three outs, each would be reduced by one. Supposedly this setup would speed up the game. Sportscasters and personnel from all over the country attended the game to witness its acceptance and impact. At the game questionnaires were passed out to get the fans' response. "There will be many things missing from the games. There will be no taking the first strike, no sacrifices, no infield fly rules, no triple plays and the full count will be 2-1" (4/19/58).

The fans turned thumbs down. One factor contributing to this reaction was that Sam Houston lost both games. A consensus of fans thought the 3-2-2 arrangement benefited the pitcher, but did not like the quickness of the games which lasted about an hour and a half. The players had to completely change their approach to batting and fielding. The players, the fans, the coaches, and everyone else seemed to think that the traditional baseball is the best (4/26/58)

Bill Mills was elected cheerleader (4/19/58); Dan Womack was elected by the student body as treasurer of the Student Council (5/17/58); and Charles Horton won first place in the SUB art contest with his oil painting entitled "The Waterfront" (3/22/58).

In May, officers for the fall were elected (5/17/58).

President: Bill Stinson
1st Vice President: Johnny Ragsdale
2nd Vice President: Byron Calfee
Secretary: Dan Womack
Treasurer: Bedford Mitchell
Historian: Gene Poldrack
Reporter: Bill Mills
Corresponding Secretary: Dave Fullerton
Parliamentarian: Jack Follis

Blue Beathard, Editor of The Houstonian wrote an editorial about the impact the social clubs would have once they affiliated with national organizations. Entitled "Ace in the Hole," Beathard took a positive stance on the attractiveness of these affiliations.

Sam Houston has an ace in the hole---in fact, nine of them. The nine social clubs on the campus are becoming more and more in demand by national organizations as the school grows.

But the local organizations are free to accept or reject as they please. They are doing the choosing and can be as selective as they like, taking adequate time to weigh and consider each favorable and unfavorable qualification of each national organization which shows interest.

Local clubs have a sincerity, a vibrancy, a freshness to offer the nationals. In return the national sororities and fraternities can contribute to local organizations and to the entire campus.

Additional prestige and honor and opportunity are offered off the campus to members of a nationally known organization. This is true in friendship as well as in occupational situations.

On the campus, activities of the social organizations would take a new form. There would be more inter-club relationships and unity of participation between clubs toward programs.

Initiation would also change. It would become more formal, more dignified, and carry more significance that in the past. The pledge duties would be of a constructive nature.

Many students of this area travel to other states and larger schools in order to hold membership in a well-known national sorority or fraternity. This may be possible at Sam Houston within a few years. As the courses and organizations on this campus offer increased abundance and prestige, the enrollment figure will rise also.

But everything must be the best. And this is the present selective job of local clubs to take time in deciding, use past experience as a guide, and play that ace in the hold.

In the August 9th issue of The Houstonian was an article entitled "Clubs Prepare to Go National." Deans Creager and McDermott met with the four menís clubs and five womenís clubs to tell them the process and deadlines involved in "going national." Creager told the menís clubs to have letters of intent in his office between November 1 and the beginning of the spring semester. If two clubs turned in the same fraternity "the first letter would receive first consideration." No petitions to national fraternities could be sent until all letters of intent had been received by him. The four menís clubs were working through the Interfraternal Council to gather information about the various national fraternities. Charles Mallery, President of the Council, stated that most of the "nationals" were responding and seemed "interested in the menís clubs here at Sam Houston."

The process for women was completely different. All inquiries originated in the Dean of Womenís Office and a committee set up of two representatives from each of the five groups. Sororities must work through the national Panhellenic Council, and that step had been taken, making it aware that Sam Houston was open to national sororities.

The Cabs were investigating several fraternities. Tom Burke and George Buckow had met with representatives from Tau Kappa Epsilon (Teke), Theta Xi, and Sigma Nu. One of the concerns was the cost, because rumors were circulating among Cab alumni that the price of membership and affiliation was exorbitant. Reporting some of the costs, Bob Dalehite said: "TKEís lifetime membership for Alumni is $15.00, while the Xiís asked for $25.00. As for the larger and richer frats, SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) requires about $60.00, including the cost of a pin, and the famous Sigma Chi runs about $35.00 a lifetime." He went on to say that some of the high costs for joining a fraternity are reflected in the local dues, not the national dues. "Just remember that SH is basically known as a poor boyís school, and the administration is certainly not going to allow any nationals with high ideals about money on the campus. As it is now, Dean Creager and a faculty-student committee must pass on the original applications of the fraternities before the clubs are even allowed to consider them." Dalehite reported further.

The Caballeros stand in good stead with most of the nationals contacted, mainly because we have an established Alumni organization. We have the membership lists, addresses, and historical records that take other clubs without alumni groups years to accumulate. We are therefore better equipped to make the change than any other menís club on the SH campus, and the national fraternities realize this fact. Tommy Burke, who has personally contacted the Alumni Chiefs in Texas for both Sigma Chi & Sigma Nu, reports that they expressed a preference for the Cabs, mainly on the basis of our Alumni Association.

At this time, little is actually being accomplished, as both the College and the Nationals want to wait until school starts before any real details are ironed out. Dean Creager, though, just recently said that he wants the clubs to file a letter of intent as to which fraternity is desired, between November 1 and the start of the spring semester. . . . Right now, thereís little we can do. On August 23, Burke, Buckow, and Bill Dietz, along with several active boys, met with Sigma Nuís Texas Alumni Pres., but the meeting was mainly for compiling more data. Sigma Chi seemed to be the favorite pick of the active chapter, but some like Sigma Nu also. Both are very large and prominent among the Greek letters. The Esquires, we know, have also contacted Sigma Chi, but very little is known as to what the Dons and the Ravens are planning.

Anyway, we hope you realize the importance of the changeover to Nationals. We havenít issued very much information on them lately to you, because we wanted definite facts first. The whole thing will greatly enhance Sam Houstonís chances of growing even more, and weíll have the permanent fraternal organization that so many of us have been striving for over the past decade. Alumni of the new fraternity will be informed and contacted by an efficient national organization headed by professionals, not just a few of us trying to keep things together. In towns like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Baton Rouge, etc., Caballero Alumni will be welcomed by the local alumni chapter of the nationals, and given access to the facilities of the local active chapterís home and social activities. Then to, thereís always the additional prestige that goes with being a member of large fraternities; the sort of prestige that many corporations appreciate and encourage.

Undoubtedly, many of us are going to miss the old ways of the present club, and the personal contact that weíve had, but its difficult to stand in the way of progress, especially when its apparently cheaper and less troublesome to all concerned.

Regardless of what happens, plan now to attend this yearís Homecoming, as it will be our last celebration as Caballeros. The date had been set for early November, the 8th, to be exact. But that time, we will most likely already know what fraternity weíre going to join, and can start making arrangements for the new setup. Weíll need enough Alums there to get a good consensus of opinion, as a lot of changes have got to be made in a limited amount of time. Some arrangement will have to be made about the Sept. í59 installment, for when you join a national, itís like getting into the Blue Lodge almost, with a plentiful amount of ritual and red tape. Another thing, weíll probably have to disband our present Alumni group, and break up onto the Alumni units of the national, which are located in most cities of any size throughout the state and country. We can perhaps sill maintain some contact with our own, but thatís another problem to by worked out at Homecoming.

In the very first issue of "The Recall" back in November, 1955, it was mentioned in another editorial that we were entering a "new era," and that our enthusiasm was aimed at helping Sam Houston & the Caballeros prosper, including the attainment of national ranking. Well, if everything goes right this year, we shall witness the end of this past cycle, and the beginning of a new one never dreamed of when the boys at the Young House in 1949 got the idea to form a new social club at Sam Houston, and call themselves the Caballeros.

On August 13, 1958, three Sam Houston undergraduates---Wayne Schroeder, Henry Thornton, and Joel Adams---founded the fifth menís social club---the Scots. From the beginning their intent was to become affiliated with a national fraternity (8/16/58).


1958 Alcalde Picture

58 CAbs