'BIS' has traveled from Bristol to Vietnam and back
Julie A. Bisbano, of Portsmouth, writes:
My father, Anthony Bisbano Jr., loved anything personalized: stickers, monograms, and even parking signs posted in our garage. So in 1961, when R.I. vanity plates became available, he chose “BIS.”
"BIS," pronounced like "is," was his moniker. The plate adorned a 1961 Morris Minor, many Chryslers, and two Volkswagens — comical given that my father was 6 feet tall and more than 250 pounds with hands the size of catchers mitts.
The plate even made it to his 1968 Jeep in Vietnam, where he served in the Seabees as the supply officer — think Radar O’Reilly times two or three. "Bis" was a highly decorated three-war veteran serving from 1942 to 1984 and retiring as a captain. From WWII, to Korea, to Vietnam and the Naval Reserves, he earned 37 medals in his distinguished career.
Born and raised in Bristol — although "Bis" lived in Portsmouth for 40 years — he considered himself a Bristolian. The current plate, sporting the Fourth of July logo, would please him immensely. I knew I had to get that.
My dad suggested many possible vanity plates for me, but I said, “I’ll take ‘BIS’ when you’re done with it.” He took that seriously and wrote into his will that it would be mine. That’s how determined he was to keep it in circulation.
As a teacher, students called me "Ms. Bis" and so it works that I have "BIS" on my license plate. I’ll be sure to pass it on.