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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 cute.

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 favorite number.

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 other.

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 plates.

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 expert.

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.


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