THE CABALLERO YEARS
Foreword

We conjure up memories of our college days at Sam Houston when we see an alumni decal on the back window of a car, when we see "SHSU" on a T-shirt, when we see some article in the paper about our alma mater, when we hear a name that reminds us of someone else we went to school with, or even when we read of a prison break! And although we may not be conscious of the fact, we are a part of Sam Houston's history no matter how long we stayed or what we did.

Some of us spent our planned four years gettin' that education; some of us delayed leaving our Huntsville "Shangri-La" a few more semesters; a handful of us brilliant ones finished early; some of us had to interrupt our pursuit for a myriad of reasons.

We came from small towns with hard-to-pronounce names and from the metropolises where many of us ended up; we came from "Yankeeland" and from down on Avenue M; we came from the mountains and the valley and the gulf coast, white with foam.

Some of us got BBA's, some of us got BA's, and many of us ended up with BS! When we got that degree, which proved something, it was a memory imprint. We may not remember the specific date, but we remember the event and the indescribable mixture of emotions we experienced.

"Remember the time. . ." This is a phrase reserved for us alumni. And when we do "remember the time" it always focuses on people---people we were close to as we ventured through our college years.

As each of us became a part of the history of Sam Houston, the memories became an important part of our lives. And as brothers of a social club we have distinct recollections of many people who made impressions on us. We each still have close friendships with those who were part of the group and, as the years pass, these friendships became more valued.

Whatever we added to the organization---whether we played sports or were dedicated fans, whether we were Presidents or in charge of refreshments for a social function, whether we became a "big man on campus" or were just a "good ol' guy," whether we did nothing at all or worked on everything, whether we were the ones everybody else complained about---whatever role we played, we were all a part of this fraternity.

As I become more involved in Sigma Chi I realize that the Caballero Club is perhaps unique among locals which became Sigma Chi. Most Sigma Chi chapters throughout the United States and Canada may have a history of a couple of years before being installed, but few have a solid eleven years to boast of. We do!

I really didn't know very much about the Caballeros except bits and pieces of what I'd heard from men who were Cabs and what others had said. Basically, all I knew is that they were the "group that went Sigma Chi." So I thought I'd do a little investigating. To stir my interest more, I began going through old Alcaldes and then to some of the material I had from the "old days" (the 60's) of my active member years (1963-66) as a Sigma Chi at Sam Houston State. There was a lot of stuff at the Chapter House back in closets and in other nooks and crannies of the House. So I just took it all home and tried to make some sense of it!

In all that mish-mash of memorabilia I discovered several issues of The Recall, the Caballero newsletter, put together by Bob Dalehite (except for one issue that I have which was done by the active chapter). Since my interest in Sigma Chi has only increased through the years, I became fascinated at Bob's recording of the feelings and apprehensions of the Caballeros as they pursued affiliation with national fraternities, then with Sigma Chi. Without Bob Dalehite's expressions contained within The Recall, I wouldn't have had that push to investigate further.

Then I became very curious about the time before the thought of going "national." First, who were the people who started this thing! Not just their names, but who were they? (I didn't even know how many founders there were!) I didn't know why there weren't national fraternities on campus in 1949. In other words, I was curious about Who? Why? What? How? and all the other questions that come up.

So I went to the library and got the Houstonians from 1949 on. (I did a year a day.) What a relief it was to find that in those days the Houstonian did contain much information about the campus, student life, student activities; it was focused on the student. So I photocopied page after page after page--- of pictures and articles and anything pertaining to the Caballeros.

Putting it all together I have discovered so many facts about the men who were Caballeros, their creative ideas, their struggles through war and tragedies, their constant and careful growth, their closeness as an organization (evidenced by their creation of a strong and working Alumni Association only six years after their founding), and their dedication to their school.

The Caballeros had an awkward start, forming just before the onslaught of the Korean War, and trying to stay active. But they did through perseverance and inducting the "right" people who would preserve what had been established. ". . . The Caballeros survived and by the mid-1950's, it was the top fraternity at Sam Houston. . . [T]he Caballeros established the first fraternity alumni organization in 1956 and published newsletters. . . This organized and active alumni program later proved to be a major factor in Sigma Chi's favorable report on the Caballeros." Therefore, the reason for this history is given. I have developed a kinship to these men who created and developed the Caballero Club from a core group of nineteen men in 1949 to a total membership of nearly 1300 in a period of 50 years (total initiated in Sigma Chi is 1,284; 120 Caballeros have yet to be initiated).

Within these pages you'll meet (I hope!) every man who proudly calls himself "Caballero" and you'll find out why! You'll also see how Sam Houston State Teachers College went through a growth process in the 1950's which is surpassed only by recent growth in the early 2000's. One other thing I've done which you may or may not like: I have included national and worldwide events, to put into perspective what was going on in the world which would certainly concern the college student at that time and could have shaped his thinking. (Granted some of the information is trivial, but I'm also a trivia buff!)

I would hope that you can sense the deep friendships which existed between the Caballeros and their consistent desire and fortitude to keep the organization as a prominent and viable force on Sam Houston's campus; it certainly would not have the uniqueness it has had throughout the years. We can no longer think of these men as merely names in a yearbook or on a piece of paper. If it were not for them, Sigma Chi probably would not exist on Sam Houston's campus. Each Sigma Chi should think how his life would be different if it were not for the Caballeros!

I think you'll agree that the quotation from The Dream of John Ball, used as a motto, is a perfect club motto and also could be used as a foundation for the traditions and ideals of Sigma Chi.

"Forsooth, brothers,
fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell;
fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death;
and the deed that ye do upon the earth,
it is for fellowship's sake that ye do them."
--- The Dream of John Ball, Chapter IV

Forward
Sam Houston in 1949
"The Caballeros Arrive!"
(1949-1950)
"An Uphill Climb"
(1950-51)
"Bill Turner,
HoustonianEditor"
(1951-52)
"Dan Rather,
Houstonian Editor"
(1952-53)
"New Ideas"
(1953-54)
"Fight Night Begins"
(1954-55)
"Tripod Always"
(1955-56)
"Alumni Membership Growing"
(1956-57)
"`National' Talk in the Air"
(1957-58)
"`A Chevrolet or a Cadillac?'"
(1958-59)
"Everybody Going Greek...
Except the Cabs!"
(1959-60)
"Sigma Chi at Sam Houston"
(1960-61)
John Ball and the Peasants' Revolt
Caballero Constitution