Latina, Latino culture, Latino family tradition, Parenting

A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Chancla

The flying chancla, this one is yellow, can be any color or size.

Hello to the third day of the A to Z Challenge. Today’s letter is C and C is for “CHANCLA.”

Chancla is the deadliest word of the alphabet for those who grew up in a Mexican or Latino household.

A chancla looks benign, especially when on the foot. The word means flip-flop or slipper or sandal. If the chancla can easily slip off,  fly in the air and hit a target in one swoop, it’s a chancla.

In our house, it was a one size fits all tool of discipline.

There were warnings before the removal and use of the chancla:

1-The narrowing of Mom’s eye’s as she spied one of us acting up. You could escape or stop misbehaving.

2-The slight bend of the body to the right which meant she was reaching for the chancla. You can still escape or say ‘okay, I’ll stop.’

3-The swift removal of the chancla, thumb on the heel, sometimes a twirl before a blur of chancla flew through the air and hit its target. Usually one’s head, shoulder, or back. You’re a world-class runner if you escape during the execution of the third step.

Everyone I knew had a chancla wielding mom or grandma and no one thought they were being abused. Most of the time a kid didn’t pass number two above, “the bend” before they stopped misbehaving.

The chancla brandished by a mom was preferable to what a dad would employ, another C word, the cinturon (belt).

To make it super easy for one to understand the power of the chancla, and its widespread fame here’s a video about La Chancla

Many younger Hispanic households do not endorse the use of the chancla, for the reasons listed here.

I don’t endorse or not endorse the chancla, it was a reality in my household and used sparingly. And by sparingly I mean I outran the flying chancla most of the time.

I can’t run like that anymore.

Latina, Latino culture

The A to Z Challenge: Day 2, B is for Bueno or Bueno?

1960’s telephone, photo by Annie Spratt for


Hello to the letter B, the second letter in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

The challenge is to write a series of 26 posts, using the letter A to Z on each day except for Sunday’s. That’s a day of rest.

The theme of these 26 posts was described in yesterday’s entry.

Today’s letter: B.

B is for Bueno which can mean Hello? Good. Well? Okay or All right.

This is dependent on the inflection and tone of the word when it’s used.

Letter B presented here to keep you and me on track.

See that 1960’s or 70’s telephone up there. Well, growing up we had one. One year it was white, another time it was aqua, and once it was avocado green. My mother liked to decorate.

First, you need to know that my mother did not teach us Spanish. In her day kids in school were punished for speaking Spanish in the playground or class or anywhere a teacher could be found.

However, we heard Spanish in our household and among our relatives especially when the adults wanted to talk in private among their children. We picked up words and phrases, cobbled together sentences until we learned more Spanish in high school.

But, back to the B.

The word Bueno baffled me. It had different meanings whenever Mom answered the phone. It could be:

1- Bueno? as in “Hello?”

2-Bueno! as in “Que bueno!” “That’s good,” or “that’s cool,” or “All right!”

3-Bueno said in a quick to the point tone which meant “okay, I got it.”

4-Or, if she wasn’t on the telephone and standing over me, hands on hips, saying “Bueno?” that meant, “Well? Explain yourself.”

An example:

The first time I called a friend, at home, and heard the father answer with Bueno? I didn’t know what to do except to ask for my friend. She came on the line and mentioned that her father found me to be impolite because I asked for her without responding to him.

The conversation should have gone like this:

Father: Bueno? 

Me:   Hola, es Monica, (Hello, this is Monica). Cómo está usted? (How are you?)

After that, I could proceed to ask for his daughter. This is because he said ‘hello’ to me first.

Later I learned that if one did not master this phone etiquette, in Spanish, parents would say, as my friend’s father did, “where was she raised, in a barn?”

He may have used a B-word to describe my lack of social etiquette: B for Burra, donkey.

I never divulged that incident to my mother, she’d have been horrified, mortificada. 

See you tomorrow with the letter C.

Don’t forget to leave a link to your post if you’re doing the A to Z challenge.