In the Parking Lot

June 13, 2016

I met a man with the license plate on his car that read "JOLIET."  

One sees a lot of license plate legends if one chooses to look. The State of Illinois has issued vanity license plates for quite some time.  This was my first opportunity to read the license plate that simply and proudly stated, "JOLIET." The Mayor's secretary told me she did not know whose car it was. I suggested the owner must have had the plate for a long time.  Then in strolled Ed Hennessy, an older gentleman in a suit, clutching a load of documents as the President of the Joliet Zoning Board of Appeal to say hello to the Mayor. Mr. Hennessy confirmed the "JOLIET" license plate was his.  He gave me permission to snap a photo.

Ed Hennessy's father and grandfather were Mayors of Joliet. He explained that then Sheriff Fitzgerald and he were rivals for the license plate names, JOLIET and IRISH when the State of Illinois first allowed vanity plates, "about forty years ago," he said. His rival acquired IRISH and he landed "JOLIET."

"The Illinois epartment of Motor Vehicles knows me well," Mr. Hennessy stated. "I come in every so often to purchase a replacement license plate.  People steal it from my car."  He has come to terms with the fact that he owns one of the most popular license plates in the city. "You know," he said, "I was in Ireland and walked into a pub, and there was one of my stolen license plates...nailed to the wall!"

I told this story to a woman I know. She exclaimed, "I've been to Ireland and have seen that license plate!"

I've asked myself what vanity license plate phrase I would choose to promote our home. It might be "ACCLAIM."  How about you?