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OUR PERSONAS

The first category that I have decided to assign is Our Personas. This category will include the plates that describe the essence of the person responding. I just decided on the categories and already I'm having difficulty deciding which category applies to some of these plates. Us human being types are hard to classify, even for us experts. Oh well, here goes.

Gayle Pasquesi drives a green '93 Chrysler Grand Voyager with FIREWF 2 (Firewife too) on the Illinois plates. Her husband is a firefighter and paramedic. She said that she is a housewife and mother and she is a "firewife" too.

I CRAFT 2 (I craft too) is on a blue Buick Century. The woman who owns it "wanted something about 'ME' " on her plate. A friend helped her choose it while they were driving to Wisconsin one day.

BRRGRR 3 isn't a freezing grizzly bear. It's just the Heimburgers driving their silver-blue Ford Probe down the street. Mrs. Heimburger chose this license because she thought it was unique and she wanted one that she could remember. It also helps friends identify her when she is out and about. The number is for the three people in their family.

AIMER 24 is on a black Pontiac Grand Am. Amy was called "Aimer" by her dad when she was a little girl. The twenty-four is for the day she was born.

TREND 22 is Faith's choice for the tags on her red Chevrolet Camaro Z28. She said "As in trendy. I am a very modern person in everything from cars to clothes. I like to be the first to have new styles and do things first." The twenty-two is her birth date. She first had the plates on a red Fiero, now the Z28 and soon probably a new sports car. She said her car will always be new and therefore trendy!

JOIN KC2 (Join the Knights of Columbus too) is on Michael Svach's grey Plymouth Voyager. He is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. He is on the Illinois State Council of the Knights of Columbus. He decided to get the plate when he was made State New Council Chairman. There are four degrees in the Knights of Columbus and he has 4TH D KC on his yellow Commanche pickup.

ON AWING (on a wing and a prayer) is twenty-seven year old David Johnson's plate on his grey Dodge. He said it fits his personality. He originally asked for WING IT, but it was taken. He suggested that maybe I will find out who took it.

Scott Miller has AIMHI 2 (aim high two) on his black 1994 Mercedes Benz c220. He said that when he left his old job in 1983, his boss told him that if he wanted to "aim high" in life, this job was not the job to stay in. The words rang in his ear and when he started his own business it only seemed fitting to have the license plate AIM HI on his car. He has AIM HI 3 on his wife's car as well. He didn't want a number, but AIM HIGH and AIM HI were already taken.

LUCKY SB is on a dark blue Ford Mustang convertible that belongs to Shirley Balaskas. She is lucky and her initials are S.B. I know what you were thinking. I am surprised it got past the Illinois Censor. She chose it because her dad always said she was a lucky S.B. Her dad had a hard time in life and he gave her much better than he had. Her life, marriage, children, jobs, etc. have all worked out luckily - and she got her convertible!

I NUDAT 1 (I knew that one) is on a wheat colored Ford Thunderbird driven by Lorant P. Sutherland. He said that is a favorite saying of his from his teens until the present time. He is fifty years old now. He said it is sort of a tongue-in-cheek comment, never admitting when he didn't know something. The plate was a gift from his family because now it fits. He is an international business consultant. When he chose it, he never expected it to be on the cover of a book.

PHREBRD (free bird) is thirty year old J. Kelton's plate on her gold VW Jetta. It announces both her single social status and her career as a corporate jet pilot. She chose this plate for these reasons and for her respect for Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Free Bird". Talk about a combo plate! She tried for FREEBRD but it was taken. She is moving to Arizona soon and she is going to try to get FREEBRD again.

PLEASER is what Ken has on his blue Honda Accord. He said it has no specific meaning, although it means more to his girlfriend, Diane, than anyone else. It used to be his brother's, but when he got married, it was decided that they should find someone else to drive around with it. (No specific meaning, eh Ken?)

SX SIMBL (sex symbol) is in a red Toyota MR2. It belongs to a fifty-five year old man who freely admits that it is his ego that gave him this idea.

ANNIE OK is on an Illinois plate belonging to Ann Oster-Heller. It's on a red Toyota Corolla. She said it has been said over the years, "Annie you're OK in my book". When she tried to get ANNIE it was taken. Her uncle would say, "Annie, it's OK all the way".

MERSHON is on a red Honda Civic. Mershon Shrigley is in marketing and he said his first name "fit". Since he is in marketing, the PR is good for him.

TATTOOS is an Indiana plate on a blue-green Mercury Lynx. Ann Printy chose this license because she has quite a few tattoos. Her other car, a 1979 burgundy Lincoln Town Car, has TITANIC because it is the last of the big heavy cars.

Margie Caridi, whose license, ROK ROL 2 is described later in this book, is a friend of our family. She has also become my number one assistant! Many people have taken supplies of cards and promised to distribute them. Everyone passes some of them out, but most people lose interest quickly. Not Margie, she has passed out many, many cards. She recently made a trip to northern California and lately, every day, I get another batch of cards from there. My sincere thanks to Margie.

Here are a few that Margie found: SANDS 90 was a California license on a blue Celica belonging to Sandra Boyd. Her sister calls her Sand and the car year is 1990.

The twenty-six year old woman with the red Honda CRX with California plates bearing, PREZENT (present), said "NO... The car was not a gift! The license plate is intended to remind me to live my life in the 'present.'" .

GESSERT, a California license on a 1983 AMC turned out to be no big deal. It belongs to a 74 year old man. It's just his name.

HIGH DOL is on the California plate on a white GMC van driven by a forty-one year old woman. She said she always says "hi doll!". She has another one - STUS DOL. Her husband is Stu.

TA RAY seemed as though it might have potential. I thought for sure it would have a musical meaning of some kind (you know, like "ta ra ra boom de ray" or something) but no such luck. It was on a Dodge Ram 50 truck in California. It belongs to Thomas Allen Ray. His parents gave it to him on his twenty-first birthday, the year that he graduated from college.

TVDNR 1 (TV dinner one) seems appropriate for Mr. Swanson to have on his car. He made no further comment. I'm sure that you have heard of Swanson's TV Dinners.

PERFICT (not quite perfect) is on a white Lincoln Town Car driven by a forty-seven year old woman who says she is still striving for excellence in all things! The original car that she had the plate on was a white 1975 Cadillac with white leather interior. She loved it. It was perfect and it deserved a special plate. Her nine year old daughter said, "Mommy, you're perfect too. That should be the license - and it's seven letters". But she requested PERFICT - not quite perfect.

WAG N HO (wagon ho) is on a grey Ford Taurus station wagon driven by Cathy Luff. She said it seemed that she was always "rounding up the boys" to take them to one place or another, so she came up with wagon ho.

JAQ UNL 1 (Jacqueline - Unlimited one) is on a dark blue Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royal that belongs to Jacqueline Sedwick. She said she was ready for a change. Her previous plate was JAQ LTD 1 (for her business Jacqueline Ltd.) She was tired of being limited, so she purchased a plate to show her new attitude.

GOPH 69 is on a light blue Oldsmobile Calais. Geoff Morman says that GOPH is short for Gopher which is a nickname that was given to him in high school. A schoolmate thought that Geoff was pronounced Goph. The 69 is for 1969, his birth year. He chose this license because he thought it was special and it would make people ask what it means.

DA BLITZ is an Illinois plate on a red Chevrolet Lumina Eurosport driven by Alan Blitstein. It's his nickname. I was sure it was going to have something to do with the Bears, but not so.

DITOHED (ditto head) is on a red Honda Prelude that is driven by twenty-one year old William Timpe. He said ditto head refers to a follower of the Rush Limbaugh show. It is for someone who believes his ideas and is involved in his show.

Another one that I missed by a mile was BIT ACT. The thirty-one year old woman that has this plate said it represents her children's initials. BIT are her son's initials, and ACT are her daughter's. She chose it because it is a cute play on words using her kid's names. She said she gets an enormous amount of questions about the plate. No one has ever guessed the meaning. I guess I don't feel so bad that I thought she might be a soap opera extra.

Geoff Downey turns heads when they see his white Chevy Beretta with Wisconsin plates with FLYNKD (fly naked - or is it flying kid? - he never really explains) on them. He did say, "It's a dare to be different plate." He loves driving his car or 'flying' and thought it would make people smile. "It's different just like me," he added. His dad has GMIIAC on a white Geo Metro. It means Geoff and Mary's IIAC (a IIAC is a 1956 Aerona Champ Airplane. His mother has a white Dodge Dynasty with DYNSOR (Dinosaur) for Dodge dinosaur.

MSTIFY 1 (mystify one) is on a white Pontiac Sunbird that belongs to Misty. The people at work call her Mystify, so when she couldn't get Misty, she went with her nickname. She is trying to get TERIFY 1 for her husband Terry.

TQQTSIE is an Illinois plate on a black 1992 Jeep. Eighteen year old Melissa got this name "Tootsie" from her father. The O's are made into Q's to look like eyes. When she was a baby, he always said, "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, don't cry". To this day, he calls her Tootsie and so do her girlfriends that she grew up with.

Another plate with a long history is the New York license on a red Ford Mustang, SHAMBE (Shambe). I met thirty-five year old Christopher West on a plane to New York, and he explained that it is his mother's license. It was the name of their dog. They got the dog when Christopher was twelve years old. He died fourteen years later. Christopher said, "He was more human-like than many human beings. My mom always said, 'We treat this dog great. I'm going to come back as a dog in my next life.' She'd better end up with a family like ours or she could be in big trouble."

TANK 61 is on the Illinois plates attached to a grey Mercury Grand Marquis. The guy who owns it has been called "Tank" for the past twenty years. He was given the nickname because of his size. The sixty-one is his birth year.

I found PHD MOM on Iowa plates affixed to a brown Ford Explorer belonging to Martha Shockey. She received the licenses as a gift from her children when she completed the Master of Arts program and gained admission to the Doctoral Program in Sociology at the University of Iowa. Good for you mom!

MOR MOR 6 is more than I could figure out, so I was glad when the owner of the white Oldsmobile enlightened me. She said that Mor Mor is Swedish for "mother's mother", which translates to "grandmother". Her plate was a gift from her daughter. She has six grandchildren so even the 6 makes sense.

MIX MOM 1 (Mick's mom one or mix mom one) is Barbara Morgan's multi-dimensional plate. She has it on a grey Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Her son is named Mick and she is Mick's (MIX) mom. It is also her bar order at the end of a long day (mix mom one). She is a single mom with one son.

GOOF 4 on the red Hyundai hatchback is twenty-one year old Gabby's way of saying that she is a goof, funny and different. The number is her lucky number and the goof part describes her personality.

LUBIE 3 is on a black Chevrolet Cavalier that belongs to a twenty year old woman. She is the third of eight children and her nickname is Lubie. In sports when she was younger no one could pronounce her name. Instead of Lubke which is correct, they always called her Lubie. Looks like she's stuck with it now.

I'm not even going to tell you what went through my mind when I saw this next entry. It is MR PIGG. It is on a silver Mitsubishi Galant. It belongs to sixty-seven year old Mr. Edgar W. Pigg. For thirty-six years he drove cars with either manufacturer's or dealer's plates. When he retired, he wanted something distinctive. His wife has MRS PIGG and his son has PIGG. He said the wisdom of the idea is still open to question. His son's has been stolen once.

Forty-three year old Bill Moody has WAVE 11 on his silver Chevrolet Astro. Wave is his nickname shortened from Brainwave. The number has no significance.

I received a family response from Della Kalteis. They have three vanity license plates in the family. The purple Ford Conversion van has BABYS. Della said she has four beautiful daughters. One of her specialties is having babies. That's where the name came from. The next is a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro that belongs to their sixteen year old daughter Rhiana. She said, "This was a Sweet Sixteen gift for our first daughter. She picked the plate name
SWEET 16". Finally, the car that Margie Caridi actually put the postcard on, was a 1994 black Chevrolet Corvette with PARDYSE (Paradise) on the plates. This belongs to Chris Kalteis. At one time it was a company name. If he ever starts another business, this will be its name.

SKEEBS 2 is on the Illinois plates on the 1994 dark red metallic Corvette belonging to a 51 year old woman whose last name is Skiba. It's the family nickname. It is one of seven SKEEBS license plates: SKEEBS, SKEEBS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Grandfather Skiba has the one with no number. Her husband has number one, and three through six belong to their four children. We experts like these truly coordinated efforts.

PEEK A BU is what we experts call an active persona plate. It gets all kinds of reaction from other drivers who begin playing peek-a-boo with Deanna Gaffney as she drives down the street in her white Chevrolet Nova. She got the idea when she was playing peek-a-boo with her young nephews and niece.

Marilyn Hilb, one of my able assistants in my license plate quest, found MARLYN 3 and she couldn't resist it. So I broke my rule and I decided to include it even though it is just a name. The nice thing about being the only authority on a subject is that you can pretty much do what you want. So, MARLYN 3 is on a blue Buick Regal belonging to a 49 year old woman named Marilyn who happens to have three children.

I FOCUS is an Illinois plate on Betty Johns black '91 Toyota. She focuses on various things that she wants...such as parking spaces at stores and restaurants, and it works!! The idea was hers. She is sure that there are similar plates, but they probably belong to photographers or eye doctors. She is often asked if she is a photographer or eye doctor.

AS IF is on a red Nissan Sentra. The twenty-seven year old woman who drives it said that is her response to almost any question. "Give it a try - it works!" she said. "It's truly an attitude or statement plate to anyone who is reading it. It's kind of hard to explain..." She chose the plate to reflect an attitude rather that stand for something or someone. She said "It's simple and to the point".

Kim Sanders has DMNSTR8 (damn straight) on her red Chevrolet Cavalier. She said whenever she wants to make a point to be emphasized, she ends her comment with, "Damn straight". And here I thought it stood for "demonstrate".

FLWRPW7 (flower power 7) is on a red Chevrolet Cavalier RS that nineteen year old Jackie Froelich drives. She is a hippie of the nineties. She chose the seven because it is her birth date. This plate was actually her second choice. Her first, which was apparently already taken, was BTRFLY (butterfly) because of her butterfly tattoo.

MR BEST 2 is another name that slipped through. This plate is on the black Acura Integra belonging to Paul Best Jr. He said that he considers his dad Mr. Best 1, although he doesn't have vanity plates. He is also number two because he is a junior. He thinks MR BEST sounds pretty cool.

I guess a step up from being best is being a goddess. That is what Sophia Blank is proclaiming from her green Mercury Cougar. She has GODESS 3 on her plates. She got them from an old boyfriend because she is a Greek Goddess. Her birthday is June third, so that is where the three came from.

NOUS 2 (us two) is on a burgundy Buick Regal. The woman who owns it said it is romantic and nostalgic because it is in her native tongue (French). It means "the two of us". A French friend of hers and she were brainstorming different possibilities and she decided to pick this one.

The red Chevrolet Cavalier with LEG E LDY (leggy lady) belongs to a woman who said that ever since she was a child her mother told her she was all legs. Hence the nickname.

A ND MOM (A Notre Dame mom) is on the Mercedes 560SL that belongs to M. Buttitta. She chose this plate to express her pride in having a son at the University of Notre Dame. Go Irish!

BEARY 90 is a nickname of the owner of the 1990 grey Chevrolet Cavalier combined with the year of the car. I thought sure that she was a Chicago Bears fan. Oh well, wrong again.

BEANS 4 has nothing to do with beans either. The black Chrysler LeBaron convertible sporting these plates belongs to a fifty-two year old woman who collects bean bag dolls. Her original collection consisted of four dolls. At it's peak, she had seventeen dolls. They were part of the family. They would stay with friends and family when sick or in the hospital. It would cheer them up. She eventually ended up with the nickname "Beans".

REEOOW 2 (meow - as in catty): Seth Berry drives a white Pontiac Fiero with this plate. A friend (Kelly
McPherson) would always say "reeoow" when anyone was being smart alecky or "catty". He said that he chose it because of his friend. He said that he saw a MEEOOW in the same town. "Copying?!?"

The driver of the dark blue Pontiac Bonneville SSE bearing the plates THREE 7 (thirty-seven) wrote the following:

"Everyone deals with measurement on a daily basis, and to me over the years the number 37 occurs far more times than it statistically should. It's my special often-used, easy-to-remember prime number. For example, when numbers are used to describe things, people and events: It's 37 miles to the shopping center with 37 days until Christmas and it's 37 degrees out; that antique vase cost $37.37, was crafted in 1837, and weighs and holds 37 ounces each; It's usually 37 minutes after the hour and people who are 37 years old weigh either 137 or 237 pounds; and did you know that 37 comes up 37% of the time in Lotto drawings? And I know you've told your kids 37 times not to do 'that'."

Need I say more?

IGATF 2 (I go against the flow too) is on Illinois plates on a magenta Geo Storm belonging to Jamie Choate. Jamie has always enjoyed music and ideas that are different - things that go against the flow. She adds, "A.K.A. Brutus Beefcake, Duran Duran, Missing Persons, Adam Ant, a magenta car. You get the picture."

Bruce Gergen has FUZZIE on his silver Chevy 1/2 ton pickup. He has FUZZIE 2 on his red '83 Buick. If you saw him, you would know instantly why. He is fully covered with lots of hair. He also usually has a full beard. All his friends and family call him Fuzzy. He spelled it Fuzzie just to be different.

WUBBY 88 is on the white '88 Chevy Cavalier belonging to a young woman named Christine. It is the nickname given to her by a friend. The 88 is for the year of the car.

If these two ever got together, how do you think they would fit FUZZIE - WUBBY on a license plate, FZY WBY?

RDHEAD 8 (redhead 8) is on Paula Palazzolo's Toyota Celica. She is a redhead and she is the eighth of nine children in her family. Luckily she likes the color red - so much that she even has a red car.

NO GRO UP is on fifty year old Larry Bowen's black Chevrolet Cavalier. Larry said he thinks like Peter Pan. He regrets having to go to work at twelve to help support his family. He needs to be a child. He wants the whole world to know it, too.

MADYUTH (mad youth) somehow looks appropriate on James Faircloth's Jeep Wrangler. This twenty-five year old has close friends in California, Minnesota, Michigan and Missouri, who each have the exact same plate in their respective states.

I found a few foolers. DOLPHN 3 (Dolphin three) was on the Illinois plates on Cathie Hemesath's silver Dodge Shadow. I thought that this might be in the sports category. Not so. It seems that Cathie loves dolphins and she has a BS degree in Zoology. When she bought the car she said it was long and sleek like a Dolphin. She asked for the first available number and she received number three, so there are at least two other DOLPHN plates out there. I wonder if the others are rooting for the Miami Dolphins? Sometimes I think I'll never figure this thing out.

I thought LUCKI 7 (lucky seven) belonged to a gambler. Actually it belongs to a member of the LUCKI family. They also have LUCKI, MR LUCKI, and LUCKI 4 in the family.

HEIST 2 (heist too) is on a black Nissan Sentra. I know, a stolen car! No, it belongs to Laura Heist. Her husband's car, a burgundy Toyota Camry, has HEIST 1...when she married him she became a "Heist too".

She said, "This book is a real neat idea!!" (Author's note - You may count on me to report in great detail, every bit of gratuitous praise that I happen to receive. Please forgive me, it's just the way we experts are.)

The black Nissan Sentra sporting SCARE ME plates was a mystery to me, so I was glad to hear from Gary Traub about his idea. It seems that Gary likes scary things, including scary movies, skydiving, jet skiing, roller coasters, etc. I guess all of us have a little thrill seeker in us. He is just an overachiever in this area.

I found the Ohio plates DOZE on the red Honda Civic down in Cincinnati. The car belongs to Tom Dozier, and it turned out that it is just his nickname. I thought it might be a personality trait. But, since his name is Dozier, it obviously came from that, but the people at work gave him the nickname. I wonder if he ever took a little nap there at work maybe. What do you think?

You wouldn't even suspect that of Michael Bray. This twenty-one year old has HYPER I (hyper one) on the Ohio plates on his grey Toyota Celica GT. Mike freely admits that he tends to be hyperactive! He is always on the go and always has something to do. He wanted plates that would characterize him and he says he is the one and only "hyper" person known in the area.

Speaking of hyper, how about HYPER 90. It's on a white Geo Metro that twenty-one year old Rebecca Renwick drives. She said that hyper is short for hyperactive which is a description of herself. The ninety is for the year of the car. She chose this plate because she feels it is unique and fits her well. The "hyper" has also come to fit her little car because she likes to whiz around in it. It was her idea, but everyone she knows agrees that it is appropriate.

I think I'll set up Mike and Rebecca. Hey, they're both 21 and hyperactive - a perfect match.

DRAEGS on Wisconsin plates belongs to Scott Draeger, he has it on his '88 white Dodge Omni. He has had this nickname since high school. His brother has DRAEG 1.

STAL YN 2 (stallion 2) is on a white 1993 GMC Jimmy belonging to Robert Borelli. He said that this means stallion - as in Italian Stallion. This was a nickname that he got when he played football.

NET 70 is on Lynette Shaw's maroon Oldsmobile Delta 88. She was born in 1970 and her sister-in-law calls her Net.

The twenty-five year old woman that has UBEGME2 (you beg me too) on her red Honda Civic fooled me. I turns out that her last name is Beg. She has been teased by people who say "you beg me", so she says "you beg me too". She never did say what all this begging is about.

Eighteen year old Jeanette Wurm has a predictable nickname and she put it on her white Hyundai Scoupe LS. It is Wurmy. She put WURMY 2 on her license plates. All through high school all her friends called her Wurmy. In order to save money, she asked for WURMY 1, but she got her second choice. There is another WURMY out there somewhere.

TWO GUN on a 1990 green BMW 525e, is a nickname given to John by his godfather for being a "gun tot'n" little kid. He has used it for his CB handle (citizens band radio name) and when vanity plates became available, he chose it for his plate as well.

Another nickname that was given to someone when they were little is Mipper. MIPPER is on a red '91 Ford Explorer. Mike DeAngelo was given this name and he doesn't even know why. The person who gave Mike the nickname has a nickname (given to him by Mike) on his plates. It's SHOFFS.

IRE PRN S (Irish Princess) is on a black 1990 Cadillac Eldorado belonging to a thirty-two year old woman. She is Irish and her friends from work called her a "princess". I guess she liked the idea, because she has immortalized it on her license plates. She has seen other "princess" plates, but not Irish princess.

Ricki Cripe has SINNER 2 (sinner too) on his French vanilla Mercury Grand Marquis. He feels that vanity plates should say something about a person. He said, "Let's face it, if it's sin it's fun, so why not advertise. So we all are sinners too." He has SINNER 1 on his other car.

GYM SHOE is on a red Buick Skyhawk belonging to a person whose last name is pronounced "shoe". He has a relative, Al Schuh, who has a red Ford Probe with A SHOE on it.

Angela Dial has A DIAL 71 on her black cherry Plymouth Acclaim. It is her first initial, last name and the year she was born. This wasn't her first choice, but she didn't elaborate. What was your first choice, Angela?

GINGER, on the grey 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass, belongs to Ginger. She always wanted personalized plates.

RAND is on the Ohio plate on a red Pontiac Sunbird convertible. It belongs to Randal Curtner. His little sister gave him the nickname Rand when she was very young. He likes the nickname and he thinks it's neat having his name on his plates.

SUMITA is on a 1992 Porsche 968 belonging to thirty-one year old Sumita Das. She said that Sumita means good friend in the Indian language.

Dave Sheiner's girlfriend, Jodi, helped him decide on
SHINE 55 for his black Geo Tracker. It is his football nickname and jersey number.

I thought there was going to be a great hot rod story behind the RAMZA plate on the blue Porsche 928, but I was wrong. It is the gentleman's last name.

FRO BRO 1 is on Illinois plates attached to a silver Honda Civic. This belongs to a man who's name begins with Fro. He is the oldest of three brothers. Hence, he is the Fro brother one. Remember way back in the beginning of this book when I said that many of these plates have a story behind them. Well this is one of them.

There are five other related licenses. The whole family, each of the three brothers and their wives have FRO plates. The others are FRO BRO 2, FRO BRO 3, FRO SIS 1, FRO SIS 2 and FRO SIS 3. I'm impressed that the whole family was able to agree on something. That is no small accomplishment for some families. Of course, we can't forget the Skibas (SKEEBS) who cooperated with each other on their plates, too.

BOOGA 7 is on an Illinois plate on a green Honda Accord. The woman who drives it has been called Booga since she was a child. It seems that the comedian, David Steinberg, had a psychiatrist/patient skit in which David would say "booga booga" during the session. This would make the patient think that he was really normal, and the doctor was the one with the problem. Hence, the patient would recover.

The woman with the Accord thought this was hysterical when she was a child, and she walked around the house saying "booga, booga". It stuck. Her family nicknamed her "Booga". She is thirty-five years old and now all her nephews and nieces call her "Auntie Booga".

Another 35 year old woman, this one driving a blue 1990 Chevrolet Astro Van, has TROBL X5 (trouble times five) on her plate. She has five kids and she says she always seems to have trouble times five. I know how that feels, having five of my own.

A mystery plate that I found was AEKDB 1. It was on a silver 1988 Ford Crown Victoria belonging to L. Zickert. The explanation he gave me still leaves me with a mystery. It seems that this is a fraternity motto from the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Mr. Zickert chose this license when he became National President of Kappa Sigma in order to reach out to all his brothers. The mystery continues however because the letters stand for the corresponding Greek letters that comprise the Kappa Sigma's secret motto. The motto has a special meaning to all Kappa Sigma's, but not to me, I must admit. The number 1 signifies that he was the top officer of the fraternity during 1989 to 1991.

I always enjoy reading the peoples' plates that have a positive and upbeat message. The optimistic attitudes of these people exude from the hard metal of their car identification. It is as though they are bursting with hopefulness and happiness.

One such plate I found on a red Oldsmobile International belonging to Naomi Velick. These Illinois plates say
NT TO OL 2 (not too old to...) Naomi decided a long time ago not to grow up. But, on her fiftieth birthday she got a lot of kidding - "Over the hill", etc. Someone even enrolled her in A.A.R.P. (American Association of Retired Persons). So her license plate tells the world exactly what she is, who she is, and how she feels about things!

Another is DO IT ALL on Bill Arzbaecher's blue BMW 535i. He says it means: Do everything in life you can - Live life to the fullest as I have tried to do. His wife chose this plate for him. He told her that he didn't want a plate that only referred to his business, good looks, golfing, skiing, scuba diving or interest in music and photography. She said "you do it all". Yep, that pretty much covers it.

Doctor Doolittle inspired DOOLTL1 on Kirsten's burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Her friends and family call her Doctor Doolittle because she works with and talks to animals.

MOM IOU1 (mom, I owe you one) is on thirty year old Don Johnson's brown Oldsmobile Delta 88. He said it is just another way to say "thanks mom". He says his wife and he enjoy trying to think up new plates. Their other car has
UR KOOL2 (you are cool too).

BLINKS on the Ohio plates on the blue and white Cadillac is simply the nickname of the owner.

DER FISH, which is attached to a red Pontiac Trans Am, belongs to Ron Herring - get it? He has lived with the nickname "Fish" for a long time. He tried to get THE FISH and FISH, but both were already taken. Back in 1983 when Ron obtained this license, the Sting Soccer Team was quite popular in Chicago, and everyone called them "Der Sting". "Der" is German for "the". It seems that we Chicagoans have trouble saying "the".

WLD RED1 (wild red one) is on a black 1993 Chevrolet Cavalier belonging to twenty-five year old Dawn. If the car was a different color, it would be obvious, but on a black car, it had to have a deeper meaning. Dawn reports that the plate describes her. She has red hair and she's a little wild. She chose the plate on a dare from the salesperson at the dealership where she bought the car. She put it down on the vanity plate request as her third choice, never dreaming that she would actually get it. She did, and she said, "Boy was I shocked". She loves vanity plates. She said they tell you something about the car or the person driving it.

COCO 6 is what we experts call a "combo plate", meaning that it combines two completely unrelated thoughts, and therefore is difficult to classify. We experts always use the greatest amount of capriciousness when categorizing plates such as this. This is part of how we have our fun. Anyway, back to COCO 6. Coco is for 27 year old Colleen Coco Soin's middle name and 6 is for Bubby Brister who used to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I found this Ohio plate on a silver blue Honda CRX down in Cincinnati. Vanity plates are few and far between in Ohio, but even at that, Colleen had to settle for COCO 6 since COCO alone was already taken when she applied.

CYN MR2 is also a "combo plate" but it is what we like to call a "somewhat related combo plate". That means that there is some rhyme or reason to the selection. It seems that Cyndi Saylor owns an MR2, so CYN MR2 stands for her name and her little silver car. She just wanted to be different.

A twenty-nine year old mother that Marilyn found uses her plate to honor her three year old daughter. Her plate,
FREE T, on a grey and maroon Pathfinder was a mystery to Marilyn. The lady's daughter is named Frieda and her last name starts with T. She couldn't get her real name on the plate. In fact, this was her third choice.

DVHAHA2 on David Lafferty's 92 black Ford Escort is based upon his nickname. It's "Dave Ha Ha" (Lafferty - get it?)

There are a couple of reasons that Dave Krassow chose
POS TIV 1 (positive one) as the plate for his burgundy and grey Ford van. In a world full of negative influences, his license is a constant reminder to try to be positive. He said he doesn't always succeed, but he tries. The license is also an advertisement for his photography business "Positive Images". The name for the business was chosen with the same rationale as the plate. Dave is obviously an upbeat kind of guy.

Another long time friend of my family, Ron Lewinski, a Catholic priest who presided over the marriages of two of my daughters, is also working diligently passing out my little cards. He found the following two plates:

CHAOS 6 is a New York license on a blue Toyota Corolla belonging to Marc Kirschner. Marc reports that they have six people in their family. He is the youngest. They have three daughters and a son (him) which adds up to a chaotic family. As if to punctuate their chaotic life, the plates were stolen off the car between the time he received his card and the time that he sent it in. He replaced them with CHAOS 4 (4 for four children).

The next one Ron found is IAN 3RD. This Ohio plate is on a blue Chevy van belonging to thirty-nine year old Ian S. Seeds III. His first choice was ZIPPER because it is the name of his band. Someone already had that one. His second choice was PISS for Pete Ian S. Seeds III because his nickname is Pete. For obvious reasons, that one didn't make it through the "NBC Censor".

PNUT 47 is an Illinois license on a black Toyota GTS belonging to C. Pattenhoaude. She got the nickname "Peanut" from a former boss because she is such a little shrimp. She wanted PEANUT but it was taken. She also asked for the number 70 for her birth year, but they sent her 47. Go figure.

SUZ QS 1 is on a black Ford Mustang belonging to Susan. You guessed it. Her nickname is Suzy Q.

STARUN 1 is an Illinois plate on a black Ford Taurus SHO. It stands for Star Runner One, the Ace Pilot of the Fleet, whose minimum mission range is interstellar. This guy chose this license because this is the unbounded territory of his mind. The number one signifies the Fleet Ace.

The white Voyager with the Illinois plate, MY GRLS 4 refers to the four girls in the family, a wife and three daughters.

B. J. Johnson has WKD WICH on the Illinois plates on her black Cadillac Seville. Wicked witch are strong words, but she said that some people really think she's a witch. These are mostly former employees. Some people feel she's just the opposite. It works well with the black car and her blonde hair...and I thought I saw a broom in the back seat.

The white Mitsubishi Galant with GAGA 7 belongs to Jeanette. She is a grandmother of twins. Ga Ga is all that the twins could say when they tried to say Grandma. The "7" is a biblical reference. It is a perfect number, and her grandchildren are perfect.

Julie (Jewels) Brogna managed to get the whole family on her license. She has TANGPB1 on her Oldsmobile Cutlass. Tony (dad), Ada (mom), Nina (sister), G is her (G stands for her full name but she didn't explain), Path (sister), and B stands for Brogna. The "1" stands for her family being number one.

After being given only a 50/50 chance to survive an operation in 1980, Sherwin Rosen made it through twelve hours on the operating table and four weeks of intensive care. So, he decided on the license LUK E ME (lucky me) that he currently has on his white Buick Riviera.

Ms. Fazio says she is never home. So do her plates. They are NVRHOM6 (never home). She has a red Jeep Cherokee. She asked for number one, so my guess is that there are at least five other wanderers out there in Illinois someplace. Her daughter has OUT AGN 3 (out again three) on her plates.

I AM DON is pretty obvious. Donald Meisinger picked it as a conversation piece. He chose it when there were only six letters available. He would have preferred HI IM DON.

I didn't even find Cathleen D'Amato's plate. She found me. It seems that I left a card on a car belonging to one of her fellow employees. She called to ask if her plate would be acceptable. It is, so she sent it in. It is KIT CAT 1 and it is on her Toyota MR2. She chose it because her uncle used to call her Kitten, a derivative of Cathleen, and then he started calling her Kit Cat. My guess is that she likes the nickname.

MEOW 13 is on a teal Geo Prism. The forty-five year old woman that owns it has two cats and is the oldest of thirteen children. She likes the plate because it is easy to remember.

The young woman I was looking at driving the silver Toyota MR2 had a message for me on her plates. It said ICU TQQ 1 (I see you too 1). The Q's look like eyes and they also take the place of the O's. The "1" saved her $64.

YUCME 2 (you see me too) is on a grey Chevrolet Wagon that Lyn Booth drives. She wanted a license plate that would be fun for people to read. She saw one that read ICYOU 2 so she answered back.

So, it's not just me - we are all driving around looking at each other.


 

©1994 by Dennis R. Cowhey
All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Number: 94-96301

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