Before any jimmies were rustled

When I lived in Corpus Christi, circa 1960, there were two supermarkets nearby: a Handy Andy and a Jitney Jungle. No sign of Andy lately, but Jitney Jungle made it to Wikipedia, and with it, an explanation of the name:

The naming process began during a Sunday dinner at the home of Judge V. J. Stricker, a close friend of the [founding] families. The “Jitney” in the title was a popular name for the cut-rate five-cent taxis of that day, many of which were operated by returning veterans. It would be jitneys that would carry many of the cash customers to the store and back. Jitney was also a slang term for a nickel. That fitted in with the “nickel on a quarter” that the customer would save by patronizing the self-service store. Also, a popular expression of that time had to do with “jingling your jitneys in your pockets.” Thus, Judge Stricker ventured the name Jitney-Jingle. There is a legend that “Jingle” got to be “Jungle” by virtue of a printer’s error in the first advertisement. Rather it was a play on words by Mr. Will McCarty. Every Jitney would be a jungle of bargains that could save the customer a “jitney” on a quarter.”

I have no idea what’s in that space on South Staples Street today.

1 comment


    4 August 2016 · 7:17 pm

    I always wondered about the history of “jitney”.
    My association:
    Back around the dawn of time when I was in the Navy, we would take breaks from bombing people in Viet Nam by “relaxing” a few days in Subic Bay in the Philippines. Their city public transportation was comprised of “jitneys” making a continuous run on a set route. You would flag the jeeplike conveyance down and step into the back (like a pick-up bed with bench seats along the sides) through an opening with a couple steps. They apparently got their start after WWII as entrepreneurs took advantage of the myriad surplus jeeps abandoned there. They customized them for passengers and typically painted them garishly while semi-religious phrases like “God is my co-pilot” were prominent.
    By the ’60s, they were generally purpose built and the paint jobs often invoked summer of love more than Asia. Most young Americans followed the rest of the sheep and called them “jeepneys”
    By the way, you quickly learn the meaning of psychedlic, even without drugs when visiting a theme bar there where the band, with little or no English and no written music, in an atmosphere somewhere between Timothy Leary and Jack London/Joseph Conrad plays a whole repertoire of American psychedelic music learned by listening to the records and emulating them at huge decibel levels.
    This reaches an even higher level of reality distortion when consuming quantities of their excellent but flawed San Miguel beer accompanied by the tune of “Inna Gadda Davida” played and sung by non-english speakers, then stiff legged, quickstepping to the head in desperation to offload a small bucketful of the explosive “San Miguel Goo” variety of diarrhea associated with the Philippine national beer. Oh, the facilities were often no more than a small tiled platform raised above the floor with the critical part being no more than a version of a ceramic bowl flush with said floor that you crouched over. San Miguel was the reason that the bowl was surrounded with tile!

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