Story by DXP Founder David Arnst

Parks Henry (long passed) and I were house guests at a fraternity in 1954. We were appalled at the way pledges were treated. They were harassed, humiliated, paddled and treated with absolutely no respect. One evening we went to Bob's Diner for coffee and to discuss our situation. Parks (a Navy Veteran) said in no way would he subject himself to such treatment. I agreed, neither would I tolerate such demeaning treatment. At that moment our dreams of joining a fraternity were null. Then Parks turned to me and said, "Dave, let's start a new fraternity". It seemed an impossible and unimaginable idea at the time. But the more we talked about it, the more we felt it was worth a try. This was June 7, 1954. We went about recruiting other potential members. We learned there was a great deal of interest to found a fraternity based on respect and dignity for the members and pledges. We soon had a very talented group of individuals. It was decided we would call our group "The Eleventh Fellowship" as we would be the eleventh fraternity on campus.

Frank Andrews (long passed) was elected as our president. He was much older than the rest of us, married with children and enrolled in the Dealer Training Program at GMI. Our first few meetings were held at his house. With such a huge task to overcome, it was decided to form various committees. Each committee would be assigned a task. The names of the major committees were: Constitution; Housing; and Membership. As more potential members joined, we had to meet at school after classes. The first item of business was to develop the principles on which the fraternity would be founded. These were: Fellowship, Character Development, School Support and Community Support. After that, we concentrated on satisfying the legal requirements to become a non-profit corporation of the State of Michigan.

On June 18, 1955, we had our Charter Initiation at the First Presbyterian Church in Flint, Michigan. We were a fraternity with fifty two members and three faculty advisors. Before the end of the year, we purchased a house and furnished it. What was a wishful thought in June, 1954, became a reality a year and a half later.

I remember George the Cook well. He said he was a Native American but I think he was Afro American. He used to brag that his father had oil wells in Oklahoma. We had a monthly budget for food expenditures at the fraternity and we told George any money that wasn't spent we would split with him. So, we were eating bologna sandwiches for lunch and bread pudding for desert at night. I believe that Jim Woodrow fired him.

I nicknamed Bob Masterson "Bokee". This is how it came about. I was dating a very lovely MSU student and she fixed Bob up with a blind date. On our way back to the house we had a near accident. Bob had fallen asleep and I doxed off and the car went off the road. Bob awoke and let out the loudest, blood curdling scream I had ever heard. I told everyone afterwards it sounded like a rare Amazon Rain Forest bird, the "Bokee". I made that up! Another time, we were with a group of girls and one said I was a "Doll". So when we ordered our fraternity mugs, I had them use "Bokee" on Bob's. And he, unknown to me, had them use "Doll" on mine. My nickname never stuck but Bob's did. He now uses it in his email address.

We took possession of the house in the middle of the week. Bob Masterson insisted we didn't leave it empty. So, Bob, Joe Roy, Nel Whitty and I stayed there. Never had I taken an ice cold shower before. What an experience! I was wide awake all day. On the following Saturday, Harry Nordin arrived with the furniture. Several other members also came and we unloaded and arranged the furniture. In the meantime Harry went about the house with an attractive lady designer from Robinson Furniture Store, discussing where the furniture should be placed. What a guy!

After our weekend escapades at "The Old Dutch Inn" in Flushing, Bob Masterson would mow the fraternity lawn at 2:00 AM. He was the one that insisted we wear shirt, ties and sport coats at dinner.

Bob Masterson and I transferred into "B" Section because the section was low on members. I then became the Pledge Master for "B" Section. With Parks in "A" Section, we could ensure that the Pledge Program would be what we had envisioned. We wanted a help week rather than a hell week. The pledges were to pick out a community project to complete. We also had a morning inspection of the Pledges before they went to class just to make sure that they were properly dressed to represent the fraternity. Each week a member was selected to conduct the inspection. Frank Shishilla (a great guy) took a special delight doing this. He mixed in lots of humor and silliness. The pledges seemed to enjoy it. One day we had a "turnaround day". That's when Pledges were Members and Members were Pledges. When I left for class, the Pledges were washing Frank's face. He didn't complain as it was all in good humor.

In my life's journey, I married, had three children and worked at various companies starting with Chevrolet and retiring from Ford in December of 2003. My youngest was born both mentally and physically challenged. She lived with me for 26 years and passed in January of 2011. I now live with my faithful dog in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

I had many adventures and fond memories of my fraternity life. I regret that I couldn't spend the last eight months at the fraternity house but a shotgun wedding prevented that. Never before, or since, have I experienced such camaraderie. It was "one for all and all for one". The most important thing I learned from my fraternity life was, "with unity all things are possible".

David Arnst, Co-Founder of Delta Chi Rho

David Arnst
Legacy Stories of the Delta Chi Rho Charter Members, written for the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of Delta Chi Rho Fraternity, General Motors Institute (GMI), Flint, MI 1955-2015

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