I grew a lot at A&M both physically and in maturity. I don’t know if it was just my time to grow or maybe the experiences I had that first year as a freshman at A&M. They were hard on freshmen (Fish) for the entire first year. I will never forget the day I arrived and reported into Troop A Cavalry at Hart Hall. I had a trunk with me that was loaded with all my worldly goods. The upperclassmen gave us a dressing down for I do not remember what and told us we were to find our rooms up on the fourth floor. Of course there were no elevators only stairs. So I lugged this heavy trunk up for flights to the fourth floor to be met with an irate upperclassmen who said, “What are you doing up here? Don’t you know no fish are allowed up here?”
So, down to the ground floor to be met by an irate upperclassman, “What are you doing down here? I told you to go to the third floor!” “I thought you said fourth floor.” “Fish, are you calling me a liar? Get up to the third floor right now!” So it continued, up and down, up and down carrying that heavy trunk. Finally I found out my room was on the first floor just inside the front door.
We occasionally had what were called “air outs”. This would generally happen about two in the morning and we were hustled out to stand in formation in front of our dorm, Hart Hall, awaiting orders. One time we were double-quick marched down to the stables. Each of us were given a bridle and assigned a horse. The upper classmen said they would give us a five-minute start and then they were going to get after us and if they caught us we would suffer like never before.
We jumped up on our horses and took off at a dead run like the devil was after us. Several of us headed into the woods after running hard down a dirt road for about 15 minutes. We sort of slid down a long slope and then crossed a little stream. The embankment on the other side was real steep and we kicked our horses and made a run at it. My horse got his front feet on the top of the embankment but he was kind of stuck there. I was whipping him with the reins but he couldn’t get up.
Along comes my roomie, Red Barry, who had been raised on a horse on a ranch near San Angelo. Red runs his horse right into mine and with that my horse decided he can make it after all. With a lunge we were up on top. Red backed off and made a run at the hill and almost leaped up on top and away he and I went. We circled around and emerged from the woods about a mile south of the stables. We then slipped in the back of the stables and he and I were the first ones back. The upperclassmen that had stayed behind told Red and me to brush our horses down put them in their stalls and head back to the dorm.
When I completed my freshman year at A&M and became a big sophomore; I remember the feeling well. As long as I was a “Fish” I had a white band around my sleeve and as soon as I was no longer in that category the first thing I did was take a razor and cut that darned white stripe off my sleeve. The second thing was to jump in my sack and just enjoy laying there for a little while. You see, all the time you were a Fish you were not allowed to even touch your bed after it was made up at 6 AM until taps and you went to bed for the night. What a great sense of freedom to do as you wished.
Photo of Texas A&M mounted cavalry found here.