OUR PASSIONS AND ROOTS
"Close to our heart" describes this category. Many of us, regardless of where we
end up, never leave home in our heart.
TEX BOY (Texas boy) is on a gold 1989 Nissan 240SX that I found in Ohio. Peter Barrera
moved from Texas where he was born and raised. He may be physically in Ohio, but his heart
belongs to Texas.
James Lee, on the other hand, stayed right where his heart says he belongs. He has CHGO
KID on his blue Monte Carlo SS. He lives in Chicago, is a Chicago firefighter, collects
Chicago memorabilia and has Chicago Kid as his nickname. He said, "It was my idea to
choose this plate because it is my nickname, and it is a proper plate to be seen around
MN KID 68 (Minnesota Kid '68) is an Illinois plate on Michael Scott's grey '88 Ford
Mustang. Mike was born and raised in Minnesota and he was born in 1968.
OHIO 111 on the red Toyota Celica was put there by a young man who was living in Moline,
Illinois at the time. He was very far from his family in Cleveland. Homesick for Cleveland
sounds like material for a comedian's skit, but it isn't funny if that's where you have
TULSA 2 is on a blue Buick Le Sabre. It stands for Tulsa, Oklahoma. The thirty-five year
old man with this plate got it to please his wife-to-be. She is from there and has TULSA 1
on her car.
SLVR GLN (Silver Glen) is on Kathy Hennek's 1992 Mercury Marquis. She lives in Silver Glen
Estates and she was able to fit the name of her community on her plate minus the vowels.
JAH MON 2 is on a red Chevrolet Blazer that Ms. K. Jonas drives. She pointed out that JAH
is derived from Jamaica. She says, "He is their Lord ('King of Kings, Lord of Lords -
Bob Marley')." I'm not quite sure what that means, but I understand her when she goes
on to say, "'Jah mon' is like 'Ya mon', a common phrase in Jamaica." They chose
this plate because they love Jamaica. The two means also.
1 FAITH is a Tennessee plate on a blue Mercedes Benz 260e. Its owner said she fully
believes in one Faith, one Lord and one Baptism.
CZECH 9 is on a white Mercury Sable. The fifty year old owner reports that it relates to
his ancestry. He said that the number has no significance other than to reduce the cost.
He noted that being frugal is also part of his ancestry so it has significance after all
because it saved him money.
EIRE 1 on a tan Chevrolet Malibu is Dennis De Emo's pride showing. Eire is the Gaelic name
for Ireland and being of Irish heritage he is proud to display the name. He had requested
"plain" EIRE but someone beat him to it so he had to settle for EIRE 1. However,
he chooses to feel that it simply means that Eire (Ireland) is number one. He believes
that Mark Howard, founder of the Trinity (Irish) dancers from Chicago, has EIRE. Dennis
sent me copies of pages from the book, "Surnames of Ireland", including the
origins of Cowhey and De Emo. Thanks Dennis.
Gail expressed her roots on her dark blue Toyota Corolla when she put CAPESH 3 on its
Illinois plates. She said "capeesh" means "Do you understand?" in
Italian. She used to say this to her sons when they were growing up. It's sort of a family
joke. The three is for her two sons and herself.
BIG FIG 1 belongs to Max Figler. He has it on a green Buick Somerset. He is the oldest
surviving male Figler. Big Figs is the name of a fast food restaurant in Lake Worth,
Florida. His son owned and operated Big Figs restaurant until two years ago. The name has
been retained by the new owners. He had originally requested BIG FIGS but the state sent
BIG FIG 1. He said he may change it to MR FIG or FIG BOY.
Max also gave me a report on Soraya Brown. She is a long time friend and one of my able
assistants. She obviously caught Max at a red light. He said, "I was surprisingly
approached while stopped at light on Golf Road by a courteous young lady. Thought that she
was asking directions." Good work Soraya.
KSU CATS (Kansas State University Wildcats) is an Indiana plate on a white Dodge Caravan.
I thought it was going to be a sport plate, but it was a gift from the owner's parents.
Both he and his wife graduated from Kansas State. Though a distance from their alma mater,
they have fond memories. Go Cats!
Sometimes, when it hurts too much to cry, we laugh. I think that's what Gary did when he
broke up with his girlfriend Val. He used to have plates that said GAR N VAL. Now his
black '91 Chevrolet Blazer has the plates GAR N WHO. He has a sense of humor. His 1959
Corvette has the plates CANT HAV, and his motorcycle has GRIZZ 4.
Margie Caridi found a couple of passionate vanity plates. The first was out in California.
2INSYNC is a California plate on a white Ford Crown Victoria belonging to 69 year old Bob
Roll. This stands for two people, man and wife, very much in sync (synchronized) with each
other, as in very much together. They were in the motion picture business and the sound
and picture have to be synchronized so the picture hits the screen and the sound reaches
your ears at the same time.
The next one was an Illinois plate on a white Toyota Land Cruiser. It said LIL DIX. This
is a remembrance of the couple's 1985 honeymoon...in Little Dix Bay Resort in the British
BIG EYES is on a 1965 Pontiac Catalina convertible that belongs to John Ray. Back in 1965
he had this same type of car while he was dating his now wife, who he calls "Big
Eyes" because of her beautiful big eyes.
The car was a twentieth anniversary gift to his wife. They didn't get to drive it until
their twenty-third anniversary though, because it took that long to restore it.
Another anniversary present was FRMMYM8 (from my mate). Stan received this from his wife
for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. He has it on his black Chrysler RTC by
Maserati. She, on the other hand, got a large diamond!
E LUVS E on the blue Lincoln Town car with Illinois plates means just what it says. This
belongs to a couple in their fifties. Both their first names begin with the letter
"E", so "E loves E".
RU N LUV2 (are you in love too?) is on the Illinois plates belonging to a twenty-nine year
old man who presented them on his car to his then girlfriend after dating her for seven
months. He showed it to her on New Year's Eve. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He
and his girlfriend became engaged seven months later and have now been married for three
and a half years. He said he was and is in love and this is one way he expressed it. He
said he caught a lot of flak from his buddies because of it.
PIXIE 88 belongs to Mrs. Carole Finch. It's on her silver Chevy Astro van. It is a
nickname her husband gave her soon after they met at a Halloween party in 1986. The
nickname was actually "Pixie Cheeks". They were married on January 1, 1988 in
Leal Parks Gazebo in Urbana, Illinois.
She said, "Pixie was a perfect 'love code' word between 'Finch' (his nickname) and
me. Pixie spotlighted the creative and spiritual nature in me... plus the magical aspect
of love bonds... sharing life as a journey... thus the van we travel in... take road trips
together is named 'The Pixie 88, Van 2' our silver bullet."
Twenty-seven year old Allison Heckelsmiller considers herself obsessed with watching for
vanity plates. It seems that I gave a survey card to her mother-in-law and she just
couldn't resist responding with her own letter.
She has a blue jade Nissan Altima GXE with Illinois plates that say MRS HECK, a shortened
form of her name. She bought them while she was still engaged, a few weeks before they got
married in September 1992. She promised to pass the word of my book around to other family
members with vanity plates, so I will be looking forward to more letters.
Our passions aren't always for people. We often have more passion for our mission in life
than we do for any other person. Such is the case with Dirk Ternberg. He has
FUTR ARC (future architect) on his black 1990 Ford Mustang. Both he and his brother are
going to be architects. Proclaiming a goal like this to the world is the height of passion
in my opinion.
How about ILBAVP 2 (I'll be a vice president too)? This almost made it into the
"Professions" chapter, but there is no question about the passion that is
emblazoning from Scott Olsen's red Honda Prelude. He is a young, aspiring, hard-working
business person. He has set a goal to be a vice president and he wants the whole world to
On the other side of the management-union spectrum is
BY UNION (buy union) on a black Chevy Blazer owned by Dottie Smith. She believes and
promotes the "be union - buy union - buy American, promote workers' rights
philosophy". She said her husband owns a 100% union insurance company and so
naturally they are strong supporters of the labor movement. She adds, "but like all
organizations - none are perfect."
EXCESS 1 is on thirty-two year old John Finlon Jr.'s grey Pontiac Sunbird. He came up with
the idea at a party at the Vortex, a club in Chicago. He said it stands for
"dissipation, indulgence, superabundance, superfluity, extravagance, exorbitance,
redundance." That must have been some party!
N LOVE 2 (in love too) is on the white Mazda 626 belonging to fifty-three year old Elwin.
He said that he and his wife kept telling their kids that being in love is not only for
the young. It was for older lovers too. When Elwin bought his lovely wife this car, he
only thought it fitting to make a statement. His wife quit working four years ago to get a
degree in accounting. She let him buy a conversion van that he had always wanted. It is a
1992 GMC Tierra. It has the plate XTATIC 2 (ecstatic too). Elwin said that the N LOVE 2
plate cramped the style of their two teenage boys - they didn't go cruising much in that
DA BST 1 (the best one) was given to this guy by his girlfriend. He said his girlfriend
thinks he is the best lover. She wanted the world to know so she came up with these
plates. He said his wife is confused with the meaning.(?!)
NOTHING is what Robert Poetz received when his wife left. He put that on his yellow 1987
Chevrolet Z28 so the world would know. I thought it was a great plate even before I
learned the meaning behind it.
SEXE 44 (sexy 44) is on the Missouri plates on the beige Chrysler LeBaron belonging to
D.R. Johnson. She was born in 1944 and she was 44 years old when she got the plates. She
is sexy and she said her 44th year was a very good year. She is "44 and
holding". Thanks to Linda Boley for finding this terrific plate and story.
The woman in the red Honda Civic with PEACE N 1 (peace in one) said that her peace is in
her one and only Lord, Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior who is her only true and lasting
source of peace in this world.
VEGAN is William Bennett's way of expressing his philosophy. It is on his blue Toyota
Previa. He described a vegan as a person who is against cruelty to animals and typically
avoids using any animal products in food, clothing, etc.
QI WIZ is another California plate found by my able assistant Margie Caridi. It belongs to
Meredyth and she has it on her red Subaru GL. She said QI, pronounced "chee", is
the Chinese word meaning "energy", or vital life force. WIZ is short for wizard.
She teaches T'ai Qi and she also does interior design based upon patterns of Qi (called
feng-shui). So she is considered an "energy wizard" of sorts. Also the phonetics
"Chee Wiz" were cute.
Margie also found PY JAI on a California plate on a Toyota Corolla. The PY stands for the
author, Paramahansa Yoganada (a well-known book of his is "Autobiography of a
Yogi") and a self-realized spiritual master or guru. JAI stands for
"victory". She has seen other spiritual license plates like JAI MA, which
translates roughly to "Praise be to God (in the feminine form)." She chose her
plate to continually remind her of God's presence, and to uplift others when they read it
even if they don't know what it means.
The forty-four year old man with a condo in Maui is passionate enough about it that he put
it on his plate. It is MAUI 715. The unit number is 715.
I AM ME 5 is on the red Toyota Corolla belonging to a thirty year old woman. She said,
"I need a reminder that 'I am me' and only me no matter what others or who others
want me to be. I have to be myself and happy with who I am and what I have accomplished.
The license plates are a gentle reminder of this."
STAR 113 is on a black Mercury Cougar owned by a forty-seven year old man who is in love.
He said that there are 112 stars in the constellation Mariah and his girlfriend is the
113th star. She is his shining star.
Rebecca De Groot isn't mincing any words when she says MINE 626! She has the plate on her
forest green Mazda 626 and she said that having been through a divorce and leaving behind
most of the material property (i.e. the house and its contents) she decided that she would
select a car that she liked and it would be - not his - not ours - but mine. She said
"It was 'mine' idea".
CLFSD DR (Cliffside Drive) is an Illinois plate on a brown Mazda RX-7 belonging to Tony
Alunni. This is the name of his first rock-n-roll band. It was named after the street that
he lived on in Kildeer, Illinois. That was where the band originated and practiced.