Palm Beach=cheese sandwich (1942); Waco=Dr. Pepper (1938)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 2 00:44:30 UTC 2007

I'm pleased to see that my memory of "soda-jerker" is correct. And I
once owned a Palm Beach suit.


On 7/1/07, Bapopik at <Bapopik at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bapopik at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Palm Beach=cheese sandwich (1942); Waco=Dr. Pepper (1938)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> It's July 1st, and I'm trying to figure out what GenealogyBank added to
> America's Historical Newspapers for the month of June. Every month, I gotta beg
> the company for ten days to provide this information.
> ...
> Readex still has everything in AHN Series 4 and Series 5 as "forthcoming,"
> last updated May 23rd.
> ...
> OED revised the entry "Palm Beach" in March 2007, but there is no "cheese
> sandwich" definition. Is "Palm Beach" in the next HDAS?
> ...
> The Waco (Dr. Pepper), Dallas (Coca-Cola), and Waxahachie in the 1938 and
> 1975 articles below are interesting. Will "Waco" be in a forthcoming DARE  or
> ...
> NewspaperArchive is not performing searches for me right now. Must be the
> rain here in Texas (yes, it's raining again now). Some New Yorkers brought  rain
> with them.
> ...
> ...
> ...
> 10 July 1938, Galveston Daily News, pg. 4, col. 7:
> _Car-Hop Jargon Complicated, but_
> _If Mastered Is Never Forgotten_
> _And Makes Taking Orders Simple_
> (...)
> "Shoot a crowd; bust one; Waco; straw in, all the way; eighty-six!"
> ...
> Certainly you have. But you probably wouldn't believe that all those words
> so uttered were orders for:
> ...
> Three cokes, a lemonade, a Dr. Pepper, a strawberry soda with strawberry  ice
> cream, and six glasses of water.
> ...
> In "soda-buster" or "car-hop" parlance, practically every drink and  delicacy
> concocted behind the fountain has its own individual name, shortened  usually
> or made more impressive for purposes of remembering by association with
> something else.
> ...
> Although some of the downtown drug stores have eliminated the use of such
> slang by substituting written orders for everything, beach drive-in stands still
>  largely use the slang system for drinks, and some still do for orders of
> food.
> ...
> Like swimming the car-hops say, once the lingo is mastered, it is never
> forgotten. About two months are required for complete mastery of the auxiliary
> language, and after that apprenticeship, any novice car-hop develops all the
> confidence necessary to bawl out abbreviated English with the best of the
> veterans.
> ...
> After the car-hop places the order, the person behind the fountain or
> counter, often called the "soda-buster," repeats or "echoes" the order to avoid
> mistakes in filling it.
> ...
> The next time you stop by your favorite drive-in stand or drug store for a
> drink, have the following dictionary of soda jargon at your elbow. When the
> car-hops get busy and start shouting their orders at the fountain, don't be
> upset or curious. Look up what your neighbor is ordering. And don't fool
> yourself. It's not as easy as it sounds.
> ...
> "Eighty"--a glass of water. Add one for each additional glass. However,
> "eighty-six" shouted by the man or girl behind the fountain (Col. 8--ed.)  usually
> means, "We're out of that. Try something else." In some places,
> "eighty-nine" means that an attractive girl has entered the place, and all  accordingly
> turn to look at her.
> ...
> "Choc-in" means chocolate ice cream soda, and "straw-in" and "van-in" mean
> strawberry or vanilla sodas. Ordinarily vanilla ice cream is used, but "all the
>  way" added to the soda means that ice cream the same flavor as the soda
> ordered  is to be used.
> ...
> "Shot" means a Coca-Cola. For each additional one, a new name is added.  Thus
> "shoot a pair" is two; "shoot a crowd" is three' "shoot the navy" is four,
> and "shoot the army" is five.
> ...
> Dr. Pepper is called "Waco" because the drink, although it is now bottled
> here, originated in Waco. Thus: "Waco a pair," "Waco a crowd," etc.
> ...
> "Cut the hail" means that the drink is to be made without ice. "In the  rain"
> signifies when added to an order for a drink that it is to be made with
> plain water, instead of the carbonated water usually used.
> ...
> "Van stick"--vanilla ice cream cone. "Choc dish"--a dish of chocolate ice
> cream. "California"--an orangeade. "Squeeze"--lemonade. "JD"--a plain milk
> chocolate.
> ...
> "Straw sun"--strawberry sundae.
> ...
> The variations on Coca-Colas also are interesting. "Cripple a shot"--lime
> coke; "shot white"--vanilla coke. Phosphates are usually shortened to  "phos."
> ...
> "Old style"--root beer. "Little Willie"--grape juice. "Make it cackle" when
> added to an order for a drink means simply to add an egg.
> ...
> In taking orders for hamburgers, initials are often used to save time and
> for ease in remembering what the customer wants on or off of them. Thus:
> "Hamburger, C. P."--hamburger, cut the pickles. "Hamburger, C. M. P.
> M."--hamburger, cut the mustard, put mayonnaise. Also, "C. O." and "J.  B."--cut the onions
> and just butter.
> ...
> ...
> 4 May 1942, Dallas Morning News, section II, pg. 2:
> Weldon Brewer in Daily Texan: Until recently, before soda jerkers on the
> university campus became unusually scarce, fountain attendants employed through
> the Student Employment Bureau were required to pass a quiz on drugstore
> jargon.  The most common slang expressions used at the soda fountain that have not
> been  mentioned here include the following: "Sissyburger"--hamburger without
> onions,  with mayonnaise instead of mustard. "Rusty-dusty" and
> "Chockdust"--chocolate  malted milk, "Shoot one in the rain"--coke made with plain water.
> "Shoot one  down south"--coke without ice. "Cackle salad"--chicken salad. "Palm
> Beach"--pimiento cheese sandwich. "Blood"--catsup. "Shanghai hot"--hot tea.
> "Easy on the hail"--just a little ice. "Calif"--orange juice.
> ...
> ...
> 29 December 1947, Dallas Morning News, section II, pg. 12:
> Most every dish or drink served at the fountain has a slang name and Miss
> Reed speaks the language well. "Palm Beach" for some unexplained reason has come
>  to mean a cheese sandwich.
> ...
> ...
> 3 September 1975, Dallas Morning News, section D, pg. 1:
> _Soda jerking,_
> _"bee's knees"_
> _slang in past_
> ...
> You don't heat many orders for a "Dobbin" or a "Waco" at pharmacies these
> days.
> ...
> But back in the 1920s and 1930s, when soda fountains were the popular place
> for everyone to sip and spoon, that's how a barbecue sandwich and a Dr. Pepper
>  were ordered. Two barbecues with nothing else on them became a "Pair of
> Dobbins,  hold everything but the heat."
> (...)
> "'Shoot one" was a Coke," said Mrs. Newton, "and 'Stretch One' was a large
> Coke."
> ...
> Likewise, Mrs. Sanderson chimed in, "'Shoot a wild one' was cherry Coke.
> 'Shoot one frowning' was a lime Coke and a 'Shanghi' was an iced tea."
> ...
> The two said "Squeeze one" meant a lemonade, "Draw one" called for a coffee
> and "Vanilla Dust" was actually a malt.
> ...
> Charlie Day, who's been "jerking sodas" at the Highland Park Pharmacy for  51
> years, recalled that a "400" used to be universal language for a small milk
> and an "800" was a large milk, or course.
> ...
> He also explained a Dr. Pepper was called a "Waco" because the drink
> originated in Waco. "Because they bottled Coca-cola in Dallas, they called a  Coke a
> 'Dallas.' If you had an order for one of each, you called the double  order a
> 'Waxahachie,' because it was halfway between Dallas and Waco."
> ...
> Day also recalled such specialties as a lemon Coke ("Shoot one yellow") and
> an ammonia Coke (It was 1/2 teaspoon ammonia in a Coca-Cola. You don't hear of
>  them anymore, but they would sure straighten you up in the mornings!")
> ...
> The ammonia was a compound used in some medical preparations, not that used
> for cleaning, which is dangerous if taken internally.
> ...
> Other bygone specials included "California" for orangeade, "Shoot one
> honest" for a cherry Coke and "Shoot one blond" for a vanilla Coke. If you  ordered
> "choc on" you got the chocolate sauce on a sundae, but if you said "choc  in"
> you got the sauce in a chocolate soda.
> ...
> Day's apprentice, 17-year-old Andy Turk, said he's learned a lot of phrases
> from customers' requests. They include "Palm Beach" for pimento cheese
> sandwich,  "mince" for ham salad, "Black Cow" for chocolate milk with a dip of ice
> cream,  and "Black on White" for a chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream.
> ...
> Gerald McMinn of Adams Oates Plaza Pharmacy remembered water was not only
> called "H2O," but "81" or "82" or "83," depending on how many glasses of water
> you needed.
> ...
> ...
> ...
> (OED)
> Palm Beach, n.
> orig. U.S.
> [< Palm Beach,  the name of a county in Florida.]
> More fully Palm Beach cloth. A kind of lightweight fabric used  for clothing.
> Freq. attrib., esp. as Palm Beach suit, Palm Beach jacket, etc.
> 1913  N.Y. Times 14 June  5 (advt.) New styles in checked woolens, Palm Beach
> cloth and eponge. 1928  _H. L. FOSTER_
> (  If you go to S. Amer. 17  In..tropical lands white
> linen or palm beach are desirable.  1940  Chambers's Techn. Dict. 610/1 Palm
> Beach, a light  fabric of plain weave made from cotton warp and lustre worsted
> weft, or entirely  of cotton. 1966  G. PARKS  Choice Of Weapons xv. 164 Then  he
> bought himself a white Palm  Beach suit, black tie and white pointed-toe
> shoes. 1983  E. MCCLANAHAN  Nat. Man (1984) xiv. 156 Mr.  Ockerman attended and
> came back beaming, accompanied by a wizened old sport  wearing an outsized,
> off-white Palm Beach suit in an advanced state of  deterioration. 2000  Boston
> Globe (Nexis) 6 Aug. A24 He was walking along Walnut Street..wearing slightly
> mismatched Palm Beach jacket and  slacks.
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