HOME ON THE RANCH
We don't really have a ranch. It's just that all that time in the wide open spaces makes
me feel as though everyone should have at least a thousand acres. Oh well, so much for
wishful thinking. While we were gone, we received many interview responses. There are more
coming in each day. I am quite excited about the response, and our interviewees have
terrific stories to tell.
My daughters Lisa and Julie have placed many of the surveys, and their responses are
beginning to come in. Today I received one that Lisa placed. It was from Meridith Benyon
who has LIL SHE 1 on her magenta Geo Metro. Merideth is a 20 year old lady. Her dad calls
her mom "Big She who must be obeyed". Merideth on the other hand is "Little
She who must be obeyed", kind of Daddy's little princess. She likes the idea that
people can't figure it out. She wants to keep them guessing. Only the lucky few who have
the insight to buy Dennis Cowhey's learned tome have the real answer.
Another of Lisa's discoveries is IM SING N (I'm singing). It was on Glenn's forest green
Mazda MX6. Glenn is always singing, whether it is in the studio or in his car. He is a 23
year old semi-professional musician who has studied singing for two and a half years.
Julie found a green Honda Accord with HURZ 1 (Hers 1) that speaks loudly about the
ownership of the car. The 24 year old woman that owns it told us, "The car is mine. I
have wanted this car for about 2 or 3 years. It is not my husband's." The number is
on the plate, as it so often is, to save money.
The vanity plates in Illinois are much more expensive if there is no number in them. I
know that doesn't make any sense - but this is the government that we are dealing with, so
why should we expect it to make sense?
The grey Ford Tempo that Julie discovered next had so many meanings that it could be a
book all by itself. The
A AND W 8 stands for Anna and Wes Hessel. Wes also loves A & W root beer. They wanted
something cute that tied their names together. Wes always had personal license plates and
Anna came up with the slogan. The eight is in it because it is cheaper and because eight
is biblical for new beginnings; they were newly married when they got it. I have to hand
it to Anna and Wes, they certainly thought their decision through.
The blue Chevrolet Suburban with POPPY 35 on it has a nice story. Fifty-eight year old
Robert Langworthy was named "Poppy" by his two year old grandson Adam ten years
ago. Now that Adam is twelve years old, he hasn't changed. He still calls him Poppy.
Robert's wife got the plates for him as a gift.
In addition to nicknames, many people describe their activities or lifestyle on their
plates. The Cadillac Coupe DeVille that I saw with SLGGR 23 (Slugger 23) belongs to Bob
Korvas, who at 37 is still actively playing baseball all over the world! His number is 23.
Also, his wife calls him Slugger.
BUSY BEA is on the Illinois plates belonging to Beatrice B. Jenkins. She drives a red
Toyota Celica. She said that for the last six years at work, everyone knows that she is
always busy. She is on the phone all day helping hundreds of people while maintaining
order in mental and physical chaos. It was a supervisor at Scott Foresman who gave her the
idea for the plate. No matter how little work there was to do, she would become swamped
with projects for the office. Her supervisor would walk by and she would say "Tsk,
tsk, Busy Bea." After a while it grew on Bea and her friends and family. Now it's
even on her license plates.
NITE ONE is on a blue and silver Ford Bronco that belongs to Charles Sampson. He works the
midnight shift. He tried to get NIGHT OWL but it was taken. It was his wife's idea. She
has SAMPSON on her plates.
The twenty-one year old woman with the white Toyota Celica is asserting her adulthood with
NOT CUTE. She said, "Everybody I know - for some reason they call me 'cute'. Well -
I'm twenty-one and I don't want to be cute anymore - maybe when I turn eighty they can
call me cute again - but not right now." She chose the license. It started as a
personal joke. She kept saying, "I'm not cute." every time someone would call
her cute. She is not really saying she is not cute. She just doesn't want to be called
LAF A LOT (Laugh a lot) is on a dark grey Mercury Cougar XR7. Steve Kern reports that his
friends tell him that he laughs a lot. He chose the license for fun of course. He said it
makes people laugh.
Andrea Kelly loves to listen to country music, so her red Ford Escort sports CTRY MSC
(country music) on it.
BLISS 22 is on a dark blue Mercury Tracer that belongs to twenty-three year old Andre
Moore. He said bliss means joy. He chose the number because twenty-two was his age when he
obtained the licenses. Also, his daughter's name is Bliss.
GYP Z 2 (Gypsy 2) belongs to Ms. Kelly Czerniak. She owns a silver Ford Escort. When she
was a child, she would always dress up as a gypsy for Halloween. She also wears a lot of
jewelry. She loves the mystery behind the license. Quite a few people ask her what it
means. She is proud to report that it was her idea alone. Incidentally, two is her
SPORT 52 is a nickname and a high school football number. The twenty-eight year old man
that has this on his black Ford Mustang has been called "Sport" by his parents
for as long as he can remember. It has carried over later in life.
Another nickname on a plate (one of Lisa's finds) is
SPAZZ 39. It is on a 1984 blue Oldsmobile Cierra. The twenty-three year old woman that
owns it has had the nickname Spazz since high school. The thirty-nine combines her
birthday and lucky number.
CMDR 1 (Commander) is on a beige Hyundai Excel that Bill Mokrszycki owns. He said "I
give orders to others and commands to my computer, so my wife and friends call me 'The
Commander'". The number has no significance.
I was driving down Golf Road in Hoffman Estates one day when I spotted a license in front
of me that said TYED UP. I happened to glance at the car in the right lane and I saw
KEENKY 2. Now I have to tell you that I was wondering if these people knew each other.
Fortunately, a red light appeared and I leapt from my car to get to Dan Clemens who had
the plate TYED UP. I gave him my survey and he sent me this letter:
"Dear Mr. Cowhey,
I wanted to thank you for noticing my vanity plate "TYED UP", my wife and I take
great pride in our choice of plates. By the way, hers is "KEENKY 2".
My vehicle is a 1993 green Ford Aerostar registered in Illinois.
My wife's vehicle is a 1990 white Toyota Corolla
SR5 registered in Illinois.
I am 30 years of age and my wife is 25. At the time we chose our plates, we were parking
our cars in our driveway since my workshop took up our two car garage. While deciding what
plates we would like, we decided we wanted our cars to have a common theme. We decided to
go for a shock theme. I always park on the left as you face the rear plates so when people
look at the vehicles their minds actually see: Tied up and kinky too!
It's also fun as we leave our business on Golf Road in Hoffman Estates and drive next to
each other to notice the people behind us who notice the plates as we are next to each
By the way, I also have a 1987 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 motorcycle with the plate D SIGNS. It
refers to my business!
We would certainly be interested in receiving notice of publication of your book.
Dan and Julie Clemens"
So, you might say Dan and Julie have both business and monkey business on their three
Along with many other great finds, this multi-plate discovery was subtle and could have
easily been missed by someone without a keen understanding of license plate lore. Yet it
was obvious to me, the trained observer. Accordingly, I came to a conclusion.
I am now convinced that I am an expert license plate information collector. In fact, now
that I think of it, I'm probably the foremost expert license plate information collector
in the world. It's easy to be the best at something no one else does.
Anyway, I feel that I am ready to start categorizing my findings and presenting you, the
reader, with a somewhat organized listing of information. I just feel that it is the
professional thing to do.
I know you're saying, "Who cares? What does this guy think he's writing, a dictionary
or something?" I said the same thing myself, but then I went ahead and grouped the
responses anyway. I will remind you that I am the self-appointed expert. Also, everyone
knows that if someone goes out of town to do their work, they are automatically an expert.
I have gone out of town many times preparing this important work, so I am unequivocally an
Notice that I did say "somewhat organized". As the expert I also reserve the
right to be completely arbitrary and capricious about the categories that I assign. Of
course, I also reserve the right not to follow my own categories after I assign them. I
hope that you will understand, it's just the way us experts work.