Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turning Californian

"I am who I say I am, goddamnit." My mother made her proclamation when we were back in the car, thankfully. The clerk at the DMV had rejected her application for a California I.D. Turns out you can't just hand over your driver's license from another state and expect to be turned into a Californian--even if you have no intention of operating a motor vehicle. "I have a Medicare Card," she said. "If I can get one of those, I ought to be able to get a plastic I.D.  card."

A California I.D. Card requires a birth certificate----and if you've changed your name since the day you made your grand entrance in your birthday suit, a second document is required to reflect your new legal name.

We had my cousin mail us some of her important papers that still reside in the basement apartment in his house, where my mom once lived with his mom. That stack yielded her decree of divorce from her second husband which restored her previous married name. I wasn't sure that would do the trick, and she still needed her birth certificate anyway, so I ordered her marriage certificate, too-- which reflects her current legal name-- from her first marriage--her marriage to my father. Two state bureaucracies later, we were ready to do battle with California.

Today, exactly a month since our first attempt, the clerk at the window poured over my mother's birth certificate and her marriage certificate and then took them to a supervisor sitting at a big wooden desk at the back of the room. They conferred, and then the two of them walked to yet another person at a desk where the threesome hovered over these ancient midwestern records. I have to admit I was praying a little because my mom's sore toe was killing her, and I didn't want the the DMV to be the place where her last nerve gave out. But two thumb prints and a photograph later, my mom is now a pending Californian. And it was free. That's right. If you're over 62 and you want a California state I.D., you pay nothing.
California: the gold rush, stardom, a plastic surgeon on every corner, and free--I tell you--freeeeee I.D.s here in the Golden State.

And the bonus? Her birth certificate says that she was the first of the twins to be born. The birth order question has been unanswered for years. Now we know. But if I'd had to place a bet on it, I would have gone with my mom, for sure. Looking at the photo at the top of the post, which twin would you bet made it out first? (see answer below)

ʇsɹıɟ uɹoq sɐʍ (ʞɔɐlq uı ǝuo ǝɥʇ) ʇɥƃıɹ ǝɥʇ uo uıʍʇ ǝɥʇ

And, incidentally, the picture is from 1988--some months before that Medicare card kicked in.


Ms. Moon said...

Yep. I guessed right. Funny, isn't it?
Congratulations to your mother for becoming a Californian. And to you for surviving the damn process.

Pauline Gaines said...

I hope my daughter takes as good care of me when I'm your mom's age.

Elizabeth said...

I love Pauline's comment -- it says it all. And I love that your beautiful mother is now a Californian. I see you in her!

Milky Tea said...

In my people's belief (we are strange folks here, he he he), the first twin out is actually the younger one, as the older twin would normally give way for the younger sister (or brother, as the case may be...)

The older people around here are big on politeness and a sense of magnanimity, even at birth. It is a good belief, I think. I wish it was more prevalent...



N2 said...

Hooray, you and the Mom vanquished the DMV, and for free! x0 N2