Family, Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: S and T are for Sábanas y Toallas

photo by Igor Ovsyannykov for

This is the last week of the A to Z challenge, which presented me with (you know the answer)-


I’ve never blogged every day; at the most twice a week and lately twice a month. This endeavor tested my commitment and discipline which were good things.

Every once and a while test yourself, commit to something new, dare yourself to try what you haven’t tried before.

Now on to the letter S and T.

The words that begin with the letters S and T which I’m most familiar with are sábanas and toallas.

These words mean bedsheets and towels.

During my childhood we were poor. Living in the housing projects poor, state government food poor, no dryer poor. We hung clothes on the rope clothesline in our asphalt backyard.

My job was to hang the sábanas and the toallas. They were the large items and with a little struggle, I could throw them on the clothesline.

The smell of bleach and detergent hovered in the air around me as I made my way down the lines.

Mom came behind me, taking wood clothespins out of her blue gingham apron pocket, and pinned the sheets and towels.

Old fashioned wood clothespins. Photo by Nong Vang for

I’d sit on the porch watching the white sábanas and colorful toallas sway in the breeze, feeling important because I helped my mom. I wondered when I’d grow tall enough to hang and pin the clothes myself.

By the time I turned nine, I could reach the clothesline. Hanging wet blouses, heavy jeans, and the families underwear (except Mom’s, who hung them in the shower during the night) was no longer a desire but a chore.

At that point, my daydreams switched to Mom buying a clothes dryer.



Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: I is for ¡Imagínate!

¡Imaginate! photo by ben white,

Some more words in Spanish or Spanglish this week for the A to Z Challenge.

Today is the letter I, as in ¡Imagínate!

After a juicy bit of gossip, amongst close friends, or comadres, I’d frequently hear the listener of said gossip shout ¡Imagínate! : Imagine that!

The word always perked up my ears. As a child, I’d inch closer to the comadres* and eavesdrop.

If the word was shouted, the gossip was really good.

Following the shouting or whispering of the word is the body language:

  • Sometimes the listener would slap her knee and laugh; which meant ‘go figure.’
  • or place her hand on her chest and inhale, which meant ‘I can’t even imagine.’
  • or make the sign of the cross, which meant ‘that’s unimaginable, I’ll pray for you’ or ‘I hope that doesn’t happen to me.’

The tone and body language usually told the story.

I think this “investigative” side of me is what helped me in my career in law enforcement, lol 😉

Until tomorrow, ¡adios!

*A comadre is technically the godparent of a child, however, the word is used to denote a close relationship