As I understand the story, back in the 1930's my grandfather, Elwood Schmidt, decided to order a "reserved license plate" for his car. He knew he wanted his initials (ES) to be part of the number and he decided the current year could complete the rest.
But whatever the year, it wasn't available. I remember him saying that the first year he could get was 1943. And so 43ES it became.
That was, of course, perhaps 80 years ago.
When he died in 1970, I asked my grandmother whether the license could be transferred to me (she didn't drive). She agreed and we filed the paperwork with the state. I've had the plate for 47 years. The state no longer requires we buy new plates annually and I opt for keeping the current plate until a new one is forced on me. Whenever I remove a plate I hang it on a couple of nails in the rafters of our garage.
My current car, a 2006 Chevrolet Impala sporting 43ES
The last time I bought plates was in 2003
The shot two above was taken on March 20 when I was at the laundromat in Germantown and a freak storm dropped heavy rain, snow, sleet and even hail.
In the past couple of days I've been looking through slides my grandfather took in the late 1940's and early 1950's (I assume he bought the camera in anticipation of my arrival in 1949, but maybe I'm just being narcissistic).
Here's the first shot I found with the 43ES plate on his car.
I don't know cars by model years but I think the plate says 1949.
I think this is a different car. The color appears lighter but that could just be the lighting. But look at the parking lights beneath the headlamps. Also note the piece above the windshield. Anyone know what type either of these cars are?
There's yet another piece to this story. Ernie Smith, also a Miamisburg resident and a very close friend of my grandparents, ordered reserved plates, too. I always thought he received ES43, the reverse of my grandfather's plate. But I located this slide, taken in Bear Lake, Michigan, and Ernie has ES49.
I have grandpa's and my plates from 1964 ...
Is it worth the added expense to have a plate that isn't so much "vanity" and just good memories? I suppose so. I was once parked at a motel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, when someone came up to me and said, "I know that plate!". It's a small world and we have too much history with 43ES to give it up.
I wonder if we've broken any records with this license plate?