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ORD ONE is on a Cadillac Seville that belongs to the Chief of the Chicago O'Hare Airport Control Tower. ORD is the routing office symbol for Chicago's O'Hare field - you see it on all your luggage tags.

His wife bought it for him as a present. He takes great pride in his job. He should, it is an awesome responsibility and it runs like a clock!

SNIPS 1 is on the "cutting" edge of license identification. (Ha, ha - I promise I'll try to keep the corny comments to a minimum.) The 38 year old woman that sports this plate on her red Mercury Cougar is called "Snips" because she does hair.

My personal hair care professional was kind enough to share her plate with us. Her name is Marlene Rossini and she has an '87 blue Ford Mustang with LOOKS 91 on the Illinois plate. She owns the Looks by Mar Cole, Inc. beauty salon (and I always thought it was a barber shop). Beauty shop, barber shop, whatever; I just know that I really like her haircuts.

HAIR DOC is on a blue Pontiac Firebird. The owner is a hair stylist as well.

LE CUPAG is on a silver Cadillac DeVille. The owner, Anne, said that it is an abbreviation of the French word Coupage which means "hair removal". Her company name is Le Coupage and it is an electrolysis salon.

The owner of the blue Plymouth Voyager with DOLL 4U on her Ohio plates never realized that her message might be taken in a totally different way than her actual meaning. Sometimes she says she gets funny looks. She chose this plate because she owns a doll store in Cincinnati. I must admit that I was very curious about the meaning myself.

SUPR ENG (super engineer) is K.T. Krambeer's pride and joy. He has it on his Lincoln Mark 7. He is an engineer by trade, and his license was his idea. It seems that his boss keeps calling him "Super Engineer". Sounds like his boss thinks quite highly of him, so he must really be as good as his plates proclaim.

AUDIO 4 is on a grey Chevrolet Malibu that fifty year old Eric Toline drives. He is an Audio Engineer. He said the plate is to be read "Audio for...".

WE MOLD is on a grey GMC Minivan. It's forty-one year old owner said that they mold plastic parts. It was his idea.

WASTED 2 is on a black Toyota 4-Runner owned by Rod Lindoo. He has WE CLEAN on his blue Dodge Mini-Van. They own a janitorial business.

AAK LTD 1 (Auto-Krafters Ltd. one) is an ad for the company on a black Acura Legend.

PAPER I is on a sand colored Lexus 400. The woman who owns the car said her husband recycles industrial waste paper. She thought that it was clever and related to their business. Her husband has MR SCRAP and her son has RECYCL.

LIGHTS is on a white Pontiac SSEI. The owner of this car supplies residential lighting for new home construction.

John Meyers has SLAB JAK (slab jack) on his black Jeep Grand Cherokee. His company, American Concrete Raising Co., raises concrete. The term for this is "slab jacking". His other plate reads MUD JACK. This is an older term referring to raising concrete.

IONYX 2 is on the sable Oldsmobile Cutlass that Eddie Williams drives. It serves as a unique business name and logo. He wanted a company name that stood out, but unique enough to maintain his identity. He came up with the name himself, however, there is another plate with IONYX 1 on it. It belongs to his business partner.

Speaking of company images, CORP ID is on a charcoal Mercedes SE300. It belongs to a forty-five year old woman whose company name is Corporate Identity, Inc.

BONDS 11 is an Illinois plate on a bronze Mercedes 560SL that belongs to a forty-three year old man who sells fixed income institutional bonds. His baseball number was eleven.

A very clever license that took me a long time to figure out is N3PNUR (entrepreneur). I found this Hawaiian license on a silver Mazda 929. Bob Schlaf said he wanted to be different, yet descriptive of his activity. The number three, pronounced here as "trey", is necessary because of lack of space. He also didn't want everyone to get it right away.

It is amazing how much you can learn about a person when you start to pay attention to little details like their license plates. I was about to place a postcard underneath the windshield wiper of a beautiful blue 1992 Cadillac Eldorado when John Stec approached me. In a very gentlemanly manner, he asked if he could help me.

Of course, I explained that I am writing this book, and his plate, BYTE LAW, was certainly a candidate for my book. I guessed that he is an attorney that specializes in computer law. He said that he is an intellectual property attorney specializing in computer software company representation, so I guessed correctly.

I think that I would go to John if I needed help with computer law. He was very polite to me, in spite of the fact that he told me he thought I had hit his car. He thought that was why I was leaving a note on his window. He is obviously prosperous. He drives a great car, and works in a class A office building.

I saw that he is also industrious, as I found him walking out of his office with papers under his arm at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday when the Bears were playing, no less. That sounds like the makings of a pretty good attorney in my book.

BYTE EM is on a black 1992 Lincoln Continental. The owner says it means "Automate them." It is to encourage information automation. He thought up this plate based upon his field of information technology.

TRADEMK (trademark) is on a maroon Jaguar Vanden Plas that belongs to Jack Berenzweig. He is a patent and trademark attorney. He also has PATENT on his Jaguar XJS convertible.

HV A SLCE (have a slice) is Rosendo Diaz's advertisement for his Pizza Restaurant. He has it on his Acura Integra. He wants you to come in and have a slice of his delicious pizza.

MCTV 1 (McDonald's Television one) is on the Illinois plates of a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. The owner manages the development of training videotapes for McDonald's.

Bill Semitekol is proud to work for DUOTEMP. Proud enough, in fact, that his red Oldsmobile Cutlass has the company name on it. Duotemp is a heating and air conditioning company.

PSTR LU 1 (Pastor Lou one) is on a silver Buick Century. Louis Barbieri is the senior pastor of the Des Plaines Bible Church. The one is there to save money.

ACRS 13 is on a maroon BMW 325. It stands for Automotive Research Consulting Services, the company that this thirty-seven year old woman and her husband own. The number thirteen is her favorite number. She was born on Friday the 13th. Her husband has ACRS 1 on his car.
FOLIAGE is on a white Plymouth Voyager. It matches the company name Foliage Design Systems, Inc.

ORCHID I is on a black BMW owned by George Hausermann. He is a commercial orchid grower. He said having the license ORCHID I has a lot of meaning to him. He has been in the orchid business for thirty-two years. Since the car is black, people equate it with the coveted black orchid of Brenda Star.

The forty-three year old California man with 4 CERA (for Sierra) on his white Lexus 400, tells a story of frustration. He owns a company named Sierra Marketing. When he tried to get his vanity plates, Sierra had been taken in every possible form. He thinks that it is because of the Sierra Club's presence in California.

JEM LTD 7 is on a Ford Explorer that belongs to Dean Popovich. It is the abbreviation for the company, J. E. Martin & Assoc., Ltd.. The idea came from the owner's wife. There are four other vehicles with JEM LTD plates.

PEN DEN is an Illinois plate on a burgundy Cadillac DeVille owned by Chris Ferro. His company's name is Pen-Den Marketing. His wife's name is Penney, and years ago he had a partner who was married to Denise. Hence the company became Pen-Den.

Remember the UA PILOT license that I found in my neighborhood? Well, I finally got to the car, a maroon Bonneville SSE, with a postcard. Not only that, I received a reply from twenty-six year old Mike Scaminaci. He is a United Airlines pilot. After he was hired in 1989 he decided to try for the plate because he was proud of his new position.

HYPNOS 1 is on a black Dodge van. Rich Bennecke is a professional hypnotist, for entertainment only, not clinical. He chose this plate because of his job. They own two cars and a motorcycle. They have HYPNOS 2 and HYP 123 on the other two vehicles.

HW NLYST (handwriting analyst) belongs to Rosemary Nisbet. She has it on her wine colored Toyota Camry. She is a certified graphologist.

DDS 1970 is on a red Ford Tempo. Dr. Ronald F. Luzzo, DDS said that it represents that he is a Doctor of Dental Surgery, and he graduated in 1970.

DR JAW is on a beige Hyundai Sonata. The dentist who has these plates should be proud. He received them as a gift from a grateful patient that he saw in an emergency at eleven o'clock one night.

ORTHO 6 (orthodontist six) is on Dr. Andrew Trapani's burgundy Chrysler Caravan. He is a practicing orthodontist. The number has no significance. He shares our interest in vanity plates and he offered some additional information. Thank you Andy.

He reported on two other orthodontists. Dr. John Thodos has BAD BYT (bad bite). Dr. Brian Degise has RYT BYT (right bite). He also provided information about two urologists. Dr. William Sheehy has PKR CKR (pecker checker), and Dr. Bush has PEPE DOC (pee pee doctor).

The Ford Taurus with REKRUIT on it belongs to Mr. Luber. He recruits people for major corporations. He knows that RECRUIT had already been assigned; so even though he didn't say so, I'm sure that was his first choice.

TADAH 1 and TADAH 2 belong to Paula Griesman's family. She said, "Tadah!!! It's me!!!" It was the name of her boutique first. She has TADAH 2 on her silver Cadillac, and TADAH 1 is on their Ford Mini Van.

Henry Lee is fascinated with dragons. So much so that he named his part-time sign business Dragon Sign. The plate on his Chevrolet van says DRGN SGN.

MTN VET (mountain veterinarian) is a Georgia plate on a 1993 red Isuzu Rod. Christian Keller D.V.M. is a veterinarian in the community of Lookout Mountain, outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

VETTECK (Vet Technician) is the Illinois plate on a black Corvette driven by a thirty-two year old woman who is a registered veterinary technician.

I FARM 11 is Duane Jackson's way to tell the world he is a farmer. It is on his maroon Oldsmobile 98. He and his family first asked for I FARM 2 but it was taken. At the time they farmed eleven farms so his wife suggested 11.

John Razma has EMSSCO on his Illinois plates on his blue Ford Pickup. This stands for Electro-Mechanical Sales & Service, Co.

FRAMWRKS (Frameworks) is on a copper colored Pontiac station wagon owned by Rick Hannah. He owns a custom framing shop in Chicago called Frameworks. He also has a 1979 Corvette with FRMWRK1. Last, but not least, he has a 1974 Pontiac GTO with the tag NO NOVA. It seems that everyone mistakes the Pontiac Ventura GTO for a Chevy Nova.

MR TOOL 2 is an Illinois plate on a white Chevrolet van. Orrin Cassata said his company is called Mr. Tool Manufacturing, Inc. He named the company in a way that people can remember and have fun with. He said the plate has turned many heads.

SHEET is on a white Cadillac Allante. It belongs to a sheet metal contractor in the western suburbs of Chicago.

John Stuart told me that my book is a great idea. Of course, that means he gets a big write-up. He is a seventy-four plus year old representative of Rockite. He has ROCKITE on his dark green Cadillac Eldorado. He said that Rockite is a world famous quick-set cement. It expands slightly as it sets, so it is ideal for anchoring and patching.

He is a manufacturer's rep and Rockite is his bread-and-butter line. He said, "I want people to think:
a) I know all about Rockite.
b) 'I should ask - What is it?'
c) I must love that manufacturer.
d) 'I'm writing a book on vanity plates
and I should include it.'"

He also told me about a few other licenses. He saw a "little blonde about forty plus years of age" in a red Jaguar with the plate WAS HIS. Then he saw another woman in a BMW with BWMOM. He asked her what the initials stood for and she said, "Bought with my own money". He also reported on a plate that he sees at his tennis club which says GLFNTNS (golf and tennis).

STEAM 6 is Lee's boss' way of showing that Lee is a sales engineer selling steam specialties, traps, etc. It is on his red Mercury Sable. The company has STEAM 1 through 9.

PET REP is on the fawn colored Cadillac Fleetwood owned by Bob Seamon. He is a sales rep who sells pet supplies.

I DENY U (I deny you) is on the Illinois plates of a black Eagle Talon. Ric Zydorowicz is an account executive at a bank. He said he has the power to deny people who want to open a new account at their bank. His license on his other car says DOINOU (do I know you?). He just likes to think of clever sayings and put them on his plates.

Jim Sonneville is a less militant banker. He has
RI BANK (Rock Island Bank) on his Honda Accord. He is a mortgage loan officer there. He chose the plate for marketing purposes. He calls on real estate offices for his loans. He always tries to park in their front row where his plates are visible by as many people as possible.

PR LADY is on a burgundy Toyota Camry that belongs to a woman who works in the Public Relations Department of a Fortune 500 company.

Speaking of ladies, TOW LADY belongs to a long-time friend of mine. She has it on her blue Ford Taurus. She owns a towing company, Ridgeview Towing. When she got into this business her friends started calling her the "Tow Lady", so she put it on the plate.

DANCIN is the Indiana plate on a white GMC van driven by Linda Hamman. She owns a dance studio which is called Creative Dance N'.

AROBIKS (aerobics) is on a white Chevrolet Z24 convertible. Karen McLoughlin has been teaching aerobics for about twelve years. Nothing exciting, she says, she just wanted her plate to reflect her lifestyle. Her husband is a carpenter and he has WOODMAN on his red Chevrolet van.

AROBTZ is a combo plate. Betty Bachand has it on the Missouri plates of her red Mazda Miata. She has been an aerobics instructor for eleven years. A lot of her friends call her Betts, so she mixed the two together.

I must add that this contribution to the book was obtained by Linda Boley, a person that I met on a plane between Las Vegas and Kansas City. We were sitting in seats facing each other, and of course I couldn't help but talk about my little literary adventure. She volunteered to pass out some survey cards, and she found a good one. Thanks Linda.

Linda found another one, a Kansas plate on a white Toyota Camry. It says CRTRPTR (court reporter) and it belongs to a thirty-one year old woman of few words. She had no further comment.

SUBJAMR (sub jammer) is on a white Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 owned by Michael Weber. It means that he "jams" (or makes) submarine sandwiches for Subway.

His family owns two Subway stores. All three members of the family work at the stores, and they all have vanity plates. Mom has I SUBWAY (with a red heart stuck between the "I" and the word "Subway," so it reads, "I love Subway". I think that is against the law, but irrepressible vanity plate owners are hard to control. Michael's step-dad has SUBSRUS (Subs are us).

KIDZ NRS (kids' nurse) was on the silver Toyota Celica belonging to Ms. Bonoma. She is a pediatric nurse. That was my guess. Of course, as I have pointed out many times, I am the expert. Would you have guessed it? Probably.

SHAN RN 1 is on Shan's black Toyota Celica. She is a registered nurse.

OB RNC 1 (obstetrics - registered nurse certified) is on a grey Pontiac Grand Am. The owner of this car is a nursing director for obstetrics. Her son is a 6'6" former high school and college basketball player. He has BULLS R #1. He added the "#" himself.

DR TOBE 1 (doctor to be one) is John La Barr's. He chose this license for his blue Mustang because he was going to school to be a doctor.

While we are on the medical beat, we mustn't forget the chiropractors. RUAJSTD (are you adjusted?) is on the red Dodge Stealth belonging to Carl E. Beyer, D.C.. He said that since he is a chiropractor, treatment usually involves joint manipulation or adjustment. He has a friend who is also a chiropractor who has BACKMAN for his plates.

Sid Hersey has a silver Cadillac Brougham with
WINE MAN. He is a wine salesman. No surprise there.

ZOO ME 2 is on a wild raspberry Ford Escort. Twenty-seven year old Julie Kapustka used to bartend. She altered a drink to her personal taste and called it a "Julie Zoo". She and her friends loved it. They would call her and say "Zoo Me" every time they wanted to meet for this drink.

When she decided on ZOO ME 2, she and her friends all went up to T.G.I. Friday's in Glenview to celebrate. The bartender, John Blitztien, bought them a round of "Julie Zoos".

ABLE 5 is on the Lincoln Continental that belongs to a man whose business' name is Able. He has five members in his family.

BUSTOP 1 is on a red Ford Tempo. The guy that has this plate does technical support for a school bus routing software package called Bustops.

U LABEL is on a black Chrysler convertible that belongs to a man who owns a label company. The company name is Uni-Label and Tag. He has another plate on his Oldsmobile Delta 88 that says LABEL IT.

LADYJZ 1 (lady jazz one) is on a red Ford Mustang. Francoise DuDoit is a jazz singer. She chose this in honor of Billie Holliday, her favorite jazz vocalist. Billy Holliday is also known as "Lady Day". Now, I know you think that this one could have been in the "Entertainment" chapter, but remember, I am the expert. You must leave these tough decisions up to me.

Michael Gold has CIGAR on his black cherry Chrysler Concorde. He said it is the family business. His father has CIGARS.

SELF DIS doesn't mean to "dis" yourself. It's on a white Toyota GT belonging to Frank Nosek. He has a counseling service called Self Discovery.

I recently had lunch with a long time friend of mine, Howard Jeske. I explained my little project (this book) to him, and he enthusiastically volunteered to help me with my search for quality plates.

Did I mention that I not only feel like Johnny Appleseed, but also a little like Huckleberry Finn (or was it Tom Sawyer) with a fence painting job? Pretty soon I'll have everyone helping me. Anyway, here is the first entry from Howard:

CHANE 1 is named after Charles and Jane Yacob's business. It is also the combination of their names. They have this plate on their grey Plymouth Voyager.

DSIGNR I (designer one) is on a teal Acura Integra driven by Lois Hayden. She is an interior designer for Marshall Fields. She has been a designer for fifteen years.

PSTMOD 1 (postmodern one) is on a silver VW Quantum. Paul Andrew E. Smith said he is a "post modernist at heart, any way you deconstruct it". His first book was titled "Scenes from the Postmodern Butler", published by Wecs Press. He was happy to get number one since that means that there are no other plates of this type.

ZODIAC 1 belongs to an astrologer. He has it on his blue Honda Accord. Both he and his wife are astrologers. They also have ZODIAC 3. I wonder what happened to

Kyle Young has a fish tank cleaning service. He has OCTOPI 1 on his black Jeep Wrangler. He used to own a live octopus. It was kind of a mascot.

CLS EXEC (carpet laying service executive) is a great plate for Stephen. He has it on his black Cougar XR7. He said that people who don't know about Carpet Laying Service, Inc. think that the plate stands for "class executive".

HUMRUS 1 (humorous one) is Pam Durkin's plate. It is on her silver Honda Exwagon. She said humor is her business both for profit and pleasure. She continued, "I portray humorous characters; i.e. clown, bag lady, Mrs. Claus (Santa's wife), etc. I believe a sense of humor is a sixth sense and as important to fulfill as our other senses of sight, sound, taste and touch."

SQ FT 1 (square feet one) is a commercial real estate broker's way of helping her clients recognize her black Mercury Marquis. She also has a conversion van with
R KIDS 1, and a Ford Bronco with LTL FT 1 (presumably little foot one). The numbers just save her money.

When I saw Carolyn Gable's white Lexus 400 with
NEW AGE 2 on it, I was sure that I was going to get a quasi-religious or a music related response. Not so. Her business is New Age Transportation, Inc.

STIK UM (stick 'em) is an Illinois plate on a black Toyota 4-Runner. B. Siegal, its owner, sells adhesive for product stick products together.

VEND I is on Jim's blue Chrysler New Yorker. The plate was a gift from his children. He owns and operates a vending machine company. The "I" stands for the number one vending machine company.

I SEL U1 (I sell you one) belongs to a guy who is in the automobile selling business. It is on a grey Chevrolet Suburban.

One of Marilyn's early attempts to help me pass out the survey cards resulted in a card that I normally wouldn't have included. Since she did so much work and is so enthusiastic about the project, I included it anyway.

It is RIZZA 13. It's on a blue Mercury Topaz. It is a loaner car for Joe Rizza Mercury. The person that filled out the card was one of Joe Rizza's customers. He said he wasn't sure whether or not it was what I was looking for. He said it is a cute idea for a book though! (Remember what I said about gratuitous praise - that's what pushed this card over the line.)

SOLD QIK (sold quick) is what John Teichman has on his bronze BMW 325e. He is a real estate salesperson. He said if you list your house with him it will be sold quick.

SELLFOX is on Jason Jones' red Mazda RX7. His family owned business is Fox Security. He sells their products. All their license plates have "Fox" in them. These include: GETAFOX, FOXALRM, FOXGARD, FOXHOG, and BUYAFOX.

BYWINE 2 (buy wine too) is on a gold Buick Park Avenue driven by Thomas Cole. He is in the wine business. He thought of a way to save sixty-four dollars by using a number in the plate. He said the 2 means also. It looks good when he pulls up to a wine tasting event. Everyone knows his car.

WRKOART (work of art) is on a teal Chevrolet Camaro that Tami Finley owns. She is an artist, as well as her "mom's work of art". Her mom bought it for her. She thinks it is very original.

DUGBILT is on the Illinois plates on a mocha colored Ford van that Doug Zamost drives. It stands for his company, Dugbilt. When he started the company, money was tight and he saved typesetting money by dropping the "o" and the "u" in "Dougbuilt". (I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat...)

I TOOTH (eye tooth) is on the Illinois plates on the burgundy Plymouth Voyager owned by Michael Sinopoli. Michael is a dentist. Your eye tooth is your canine tooth. He knows of another plate, TO THAKE (toothache).

TTH DOC 2 (tooth doctor too) is on J. Fritz's white Pontiac Grand Am. He said the first part says that he is a dentist. The two means "among other things" or "also". The reader of the plate can use their imagination as to what those other things are.

Gerald Plotkin is a French and Spanish teacher, and he works as a French interpreter during his off-season. I was not surprised. The plates on his cars kind of give him away. I will let you hear his story directly from him. He wrote:

"I like to have a license plate that reflects my affinity for things Francophone. Both plates were my idea...

Plate 1:
RIEN DE 9 is an Illinois plate on a burgundy 1990 Chevy Van.

Why did I choose this license? Because QUOI DE 9 was unavailable!
(Quoi de 9 would mean 'What's new?'; RIEN DE 9 means 'Nothing's new'.
The '9' is neuf in French; neuf as an adjective means 'new'.
Someone else in Illinois apparently already has QUOI DE 9.

Plate 2:
GLLOQ is an Illinois plate on a silver 1991 Saab 900S.

Why did I choose this license? The word GLLOQ is part of an old French joke, to wit:

A gentleman goes to the airport to buy an airline ticket. The employee asks his name, and he responds with the name "Glloq". She asks how to spell it. (This is the tricky part, as each letter as it is pronounced in French corresponds to a word, forming the resulting sentence.) He responds 'J'ai (G) duex ailes (LL) au (O) cul (Q)', which means 'My ass (or tail) has wings'.

Of course, the employee asks him why he even bothers to take the plane...

I first came across this expression when I was in the Peace Corps in French-speaking Cote-d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in 1977."

Gerald was kind enough to wish me good luck with my writing. With contributors like him, my job is easy.

SENORA K belongs to Patricia Klimek. It is on her burgundy Dodge Dynasty. Patricia is a Spanish Teacher. She chose Senora because it means "Mrs." in Spanish. Her students call her Senora. Her husband suggested the plate.

While I'm on the subject of language related plates, I can't overlook the "mother" of all romance languages, Latin.

I must tell you that my mail is a virtual cornucopia of information about various license plate related subjects. Today I received a package from Pat Flaherty, a teacher at Webber High School in Chicago, that is frankly too deep for me. Fun nevertheless, but definitely too deep.

Pat sent me a copy of "The Classical Outlook" in The Journal of the American Classical League, Volume 71, Fall 1993. It has a whole article on Latin vanity plates. After careful review by me, your self-appointed expert, I decided that I couldn't make heads or tails of it, so I am going to spare you the details. If you would like a copy, drop me a line.

In addition, Pat included a note that described the best Latin plate that he has ever seen locally. It was OMA OMA. He couldn't figure it out until it appeared in the rear view mirror. I don't know how to tell you this Pat, but I still don't have a clue as to what it might mean.

Pat's own plate DEUS 777 is on his black Ford Escort. Deus is Latin for God and 777 is the perfect number. What better license for a Latin teacher?

Danielle Quagliano has AUTOART (auto art) on her multi colored, flamed Chevy pickup truck. It was very attractive! That is her business, Autobody Artists. She has a beautiful rolling advertisement.

Marilyn Hilb found a few more interesting ones. The first belongs to Liz McFarlane. It is on her red Pontiac LeMans GSE. She has UK OTRL 1. Not obvious, but thoughtful, it stands for United Kingdom, Occupational Therapist, Registered and Licensed. The "1" just saved her money. Liz is very proud to be British. In the sensible British tradition, she decided to be discrete and safer by not using her name in the plate.

The next one Marilyn found belongs to Rick Russo. It is blatantly obvious. He has MR TACO on his Lincoln Mark VII. He owns a Mexican Restaurant called El Sombrero and he considers himself the king of taco vendors. He added that tacos paid for the car. By the way, I think that this a great restaurant.

He bought his dad, Tony Russo, EAT MEX for his grey Buick Le Sabre as a gift.

Marilyn also found SIGMA T on the Illinois plates of a grey Mercedes 560 SEC. It stands for Sigmatron. The owner said that it was the name of his company.

SHOES 25 is on a red Nissan Sentra that belongs to the manager of the Payless Shoe Store. She retires in the year 2025. She was making a statement. This is the first car that she bought all by herself. She said that there are at least 24 other SHOES out there since she picked number one and she received number twenty-five. The same day that she received her plates, she received her retirement statement. She said, "Both were twenty-five. Funny! A lucky coincidence."

EWE ME 6 on the white 1992 Chevrolet van stands for Ewe and Me Country Crafts. The 6 is for six people in the family. The man driving the van owns the crafts business.

LEGANT on the red Oldsmobile 88 is the name of an old jewelry line that is no longer in existence. The jewelry line belonged to the father of the man who owns the Oldsmobile. His mother named the line. It is French for "elegant".

BB SNOW 1 is on a green Dodge Dynasty. Chuck, the owner of the car, said that it stands for his snowplowing company, Bronco Brothers Snowplowing. He has two brothers-in-law who plow for him. He chose the number one because he was the owner.

Patrick Garner calls them like he sees them. He works for Walgreen's, a very large and successful drug store chain. He chose WALG 2 (Walgreen's 2) for the license on his neon blue Chevrolet Cavalier RS. He said he's been working for Walgreen's for two years and he decided that this would be the best way to show his company loyalty and give Walgreen's some quick advertising. Then he added, "Actually, I'm trying to kiss up." Patrick, I like your style.

CKNTME 1 (check in time 1) on the blue 1989 VW Jetta is a term used by flight attendants to indicate what time they are to report to work. This thirty-something woman tried to order her name, Stacey, but it was taken. She would have been the 23rd one in Illinois to have that name on her plates. Other choices she tried were also taken. She finally settled for "check in time" since wherever she goes she is always "checking in".

In Cincinnati, I ran across a Ford Taurus with UMAX 1 on the plates. I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. It turns out that it is a company car for Ultramax Corporation. Ultramax provides software for manufacturing process optimization. The owner hopes to go to UMAX 2, but presently there are no others.

TRUNKS is on an '89 Jeep. The forty-eight year old man that owns this Jeep has a company that sells leather goods and - what else? - trunks!

RITZ 89 on the Ohio plates of a black 1992 Cadillac Eldorado are in honor of Bob Mayberry's night club called The Ritz. He bought the club in 1989.

Sharyn and Barry Barrington, who call themselves the Quarquings, have QUARK 25 on their blue Volvo 740GLE.

They have physics, romance, history, poetry and vision all wrapped up together on their license plate. They both participated in the response which included the postcard, a letter to me, a letter from John Peoples, Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to them, and a copy of a poem that Barry wrote in 1984.

In the postcard, Sharyn says QUARK 25 combines their study of particle physics, their writings, their courtship, Star Trek and an important personal date. The number is two/five for the month (February) and the date (the fifth) when Sharyn and Barry met.

The letter that they sent is too good to paraphrase, so I have included it in it's entirety:

"Dear Mr. Cowhey;

I suspect you find quite a backdrop behind every vanity plate, eh? In our case, it begins 20 years ago, before 'Quark' became a character of Star Trek. As she suggests in her note, Sharyn and I (who had met on the fifth of February 2/5 1974) were at a summer workshop for the National Research Council where we discussed the discovery of the Fourth Quark, nicknamed 'charm'. We took that as a charm for our own future, and began to call ourselves the Quings of Quark or Quarquings, later. (See enclosed business card). ... We also had to try to explain the nature of Quarks to a famous painter, Reginald Pollack, who was at the same workshop on Cape Cod. I had a tough time explaining it so I said, 'I'll write a poem to do it.' I wrote the poem and he illustrated it for the Bicentennial Poet/Painter exhibit in Washington, and Sharyn and I got married.

Much later, we bought the Volvo and ordered the vanity plate you saw, QUARK 25. The Volvo is Sharyn's, but we jointly picked the name for the vanity plate, knowing we could also combine the characters of the Star Trek series with our writings. The vanity plate is our most public 'writing'. Thank you for inviting our participation in your undertaking, and best wishes in its success.


Sharyn and Barry Barrington

P.S. Now that you have gone this far with us, you'll have to take note that we scientists had been quite certain that (if there were four quarks) there had to be six! So when the first confirming evidence arose in 1984, I wrote about the Sixth Quark, but no one else got excited, it seemed. The Sixth has been quite well substantiated this spring, and so I pulled the old poem out and sent it to FermiLab and the Tribune, and have enclosed a part of my very recent exchange with FermiLab For your sake, I hope not everyone insists on making you listen to their entire life story just to include their stuff in your forthcoming work on vanity plates!! Yes, tell us when it's published; we've been interested in vanity plate names for many years."

I have to say that not everyone tells me their life story, but not everyone has such an interesting story either. Thank you for your contribution.

Now, for you readers that are dying of curiosity, here is the poem:


While I perspired at other tasks this recent Spring,

Physicists, behind their plows in Gaussian Fields, outlined the edge of amperes and set gauges all ablaze

With voltages beyond the shock of Thor's refulgent sting....

Calibrated meters may show spikes and jolts, and amplify some nearly transient phase,

But they will fail to sense the feeble mode of this most Truthful Quark

That joins the other five in a multiplexing, vari-colored hyperamperated spark!

* One for each day he labored

Written in Autumn 1984,
Retrieved, Reissued on the Day after the Sixth/Top Quark was announced 9AM 23 April '94
L. F. ArchiBearington"

John Peoples, the Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, responded on May 4, 1994:

"Dear Dr. Barrington:

Thank you very much for the copy of the letter you sent to John Van. I commend you on the poetry and foresight of 'On Top, God Knew there was a Sixth,' written in 1984. Like you, we have waited a long time to find the evidence supporting the existence of the sixth quark. The world needs both scientists and poets!"


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