LOUISVILLE, NEBRASKA – In 1922, the state of Nebraska established the practice of using prefix numbers to identify the counties in which vehicles were registered on the license plate for the vehicle. Each of Nebraska’s 93 counties was assigned a number based on the number of registered vehicles in the county at that time. The county with the most vehicles, Douglas (city of Omaha), was assigned the number 1; the county with the second highest number of vehicles, Lancaster (city of Lincoln), was assigned number 2; and so forth. My current county, Sarpy, was 59.
In January of 2002, the State discontinued this practice for the largest three counties, Lancaster, Sarpy and Douglas and began issuing alpha/numeric license plates. This change and the proliferation of prestige plates has taken away a little nugget of Nebraska history that I miss. Oh, I know that most counties in Nebraska still use these prefix numbers…but it’s not as much fun when only part of the vehicles are in the (prefix) game!
On Friday of this week, I woke up in 59-county and drove to 2-county for an all day meeting. On the way back, I took the long route through 20-county (Cass) and stopped in Louisville. It is there where I met Billie Jo.
I was parked at the combination convenience store/bank/Subway mini-strip mall along Highway 50 when Billie Jo pulled in next to me and went into the C-store. I figured she wouldn’t be long because she left the keys in the car with the car running (we do that in Nebraska!).
Billie Jo was talking on her phone when walking back to her car and I interrupted her and introduced myself. She was talking to her sister, Amanda, and I suggested she not hang up and just let Amanda listen. So on with the pitch…and Billie Jo accepted the $50.
Billie Jo is originally from 6-county (Saunders, and specifically Woodcliff) but moved to 20-county a year ago to live in Louisville with her fiancé, Ben. They are planning to get married next year. She is pregnant (with a boy) and due October 4th. Billie Jo looked very young to me, so I was quite surprised when she said that she had been married before for 15 years (she got married at the age of 17) and that she had previous children. She has four girls from that marriage.
Billie Jo said that she has been off work due to the pregnancy and that the $50 comes at a really good and needed time for them. It was a really good time to meet her, for me…another very pleasant encounter on this journey!