Put Another Nickel In

Our dear friend Tere’s Spanish grammar and language skills are exceptional. Through our conversations, she taught me so much during our nearly two years in Sevilla that sometimes when I begin to speak, people are actually impressed with my verb forms. Many tell me most Spaniards don’t even use the correct form. Of course, I then try another sentence and they realize it was just one verb. During Tere’s last visit from Sevilla, she taught me some more. On a walk in the neighborhood, we passed a shop window displaying a collection of skull-shaped coin banks.

Tere pointed. “Hucha,” she discreetly said.  [The “H” is silent.]


I repeated at full voice, “Hucha”?

She whispered, “Sí, hucha.”

HUCHA: SPANISH FOR A COIN BANK.

I had no idea why she had whispered. She was laughing as she went on to explain that, in addition to piggy banks, “hucha” is also used to refer to savings, money boxes, and the coin slots themselves (in vending machines and anything else). Great. But, still, nothing to be embarrassed about.

HUCHA: ALSO THE WORD FOR THE COIN SLOT IN A VENDING MACHINE.
I WAS GOING TO INCLUDE AN EXAMPLE OF “SAVINGS”
… BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.

By this time, we were crossing Plaza San Rafael. The vendors were getting ready to re-open the gift market for the evening. Tere went on to explain that “hucha” was also slang. She pointed and said, “Hucha.”

HUCHA.  (I WAS SO TEMPTED TO DROP IN A CENTIMO.)

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “Put Another Nickel In”

    1. Stephen:
      Well, Charo says she was born in 1951 (and the US decreed that as official) although earlier official birth documents said 1931 and later docs said 1941. And news reports jumped all over the place. She said her parents lied to enable her to marry Cuggie and she was too young. Who knows? Cuggie, without a doubt, would be 113 if he were still living! He died at the age of 90. That was fun research!

  1. Xaviar Cugat died in 1990. I think Charo is still around, though. I best remember Cugat from Disney's Jungle Book. That film had some great music!

    By the way, how long did you have to look before you captured the fine image of a Hucha?

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      That last "hucha" image? That was still during the conversation with Tere; it was how she explained the slang. I am constantly confronted with "huchas" around town, whether I want to see them or not! (I actually had four other huchas as viewed from our terrace that I decided to not included.)

    2. Just to set the record straight, I confused Cugat with Louie Prima. Prima is the one who sings "I Wanna Be Like You" in The Jungle Book. I absolutely love the songs in that movie!

  2. This is so funny and iteresting to me at the same time, because I've heard that term used before! I have four siblings and nine nieces and nephews. My siblings and their spouses have, in recent years, bemoaned the fact that jeans for young women and even little girls are fashioned in such away that they hug the waist so low. Inevitably, one of my nieces will bend over, and there it is! My sister-in-law Lisa uses that very term–coin slot. When they are out in public and her daughter Ava (who is seven) moves in such a way that her pants go down too low, Lisa will say, "Ava…coin slot!" and that is Ava's cue to pull up her pants. That's interesting that the same concept has sprung up in at least these two different languages. I wonder if that happened independently, or if there is a connection. I'll have to tell Lisa about Hucha!

    1. Michelle:
      In the past I'd seen people jokingly drop a coin back there. So the concept isn't new I guess. But, just think, now Lisa can call out a warning "hucha!" and no one will be the wiser (unless they speak Spanish)!

Share your thoughts and experiences. It's always nice to know I'm not alone.