A year or so later, after many hours of navigating the roads of our small town for practice (a feat which resulted in many grey haired moments for our moms, and many lectures from our dads), we set out for the loftiest prize of all... the permanent mother lode of independence.... the license that would allow us to drive ALONE, without nervous moms and high-strung dads in the car with us. What a moment! Though we were cocky and confident that we were invincible and could hold our own with any NASCAR driver on the circuit, I imagine that if we all confessed, we were scared out of our britches when the time came to actually turn the key and head out of our driveway. We didn't give one thought to our moms and dads at home praying, crying, worrying incessantly about us until we returned home. (An emotion with which we now, as parents ourselves, can identify as we watched our own kids drive away that first time!)
After impatiently checking the post-office box daily for several weeks, the ecstatic moment at long last had arrived. My beautiful, treasured, plastic-encased license to drive was finally in my eager little hands! While poring over the front of it, I noticed that my birthdate had been typed incorrectly. I was horrified!!! While only five days off, I was still distraught that the DMV had made me five days younger than I actually was. When you're 16, every day of life experience counts, and I didn't want to be cheated out of any of my days! My mom consoled me tirelessly, and finally convinced me that it didn't really matter to a hill o' beans, and we'd just get it fixed when it was time for renewal. Well..... even back in the olden days, nothing is easy with the government. The DMV wouldn't budge. Without a birth certificate, they absolutely wouldn't give me back my five days. By then, I was over the trauma, and conceded that maybe it really wasn't the end of the world, and I'd just bring my birth certificate next time. If your life is anything like ours, you probably guessed by now, that I never did get the birth certificate to the DMV. We always forgot about it until time to go for renewal, which was always an inopportune time to get to the bank safety-deposit box to retrieve said birth certificate. So for years, my official birthdate was 10-18-58. It totally became less of an issue as I got older, except for sometimes restaurants will give you a free meal or cake and ice cream on your birthday, but other than that it was no biggie, and I went for 32 years with the incorrect DOB on my license.
During one of my recent moves/house-rearranging projects, I came across an old scrapbook containing memorabilia from my teen years. You know the sort, cheerleading letters, movie stubs, prom invitations, and the like. What fun it was to peruse through the faded pages and take a trip down memory lane. Imagine my delight to find those original paper licenses, both for my learner's permit and my permanent license! It was then that I had a light-bulb moment.... surely if I took both of these "documents" to my next renewal, the DMV would have no choice but to change the date. After all, it was their typo. Typos is my business. (haha) My evaluation depends on at least 98% accuracy (which does NOT, I might add, carry over to my blog posts.... I'm just sayin'.....), so I figured they should be responsible for their typo and not expect me to bear the burden of proof of my actual birth date.
Shortly after Leyland was born, and after her first hospitalization, I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop for not having my tag renewed. Knowing what he was stopping me for, I was so proud of myself to reach into the dash and pull out my tag sticker, and explain to the officer that I was a brand new grandma, and the sweet little pumpkin had just been released from the hospital. I had purchased my tag in a timely fashion, just in all the hooplah that was my life, I had failed to apply the sticker to my tag. The officer was not impressed. I think he was upset because I actually did have my sticker. He looked at me with those mean policeman eyes, and without cracking a smile told me that my license had expired. I just grinned sweetly and said "You're kidding". "No, ma'am, I'm not kidding." The date was November 1. My birthday is October 13. Okay, so my license had expired, and my tag sticker wasn't applied. And he had absolutely no pity on me regarding my distress over my sick grandbaby. As I exited the vehicle to apply my tag sticker, Mr. Glaring Policeman, was busy writing me a ticket for an expired license. .....sigh..... At least I had a current insurance and registration cards. He probably would have handcuffed me and taken me to jail. The meanie.
Now forced to go to the DMV for license renewal, I took the brittle, faded license papers with me. The associate behind the counter looked at me as though I had brought her the Dead Sea Scrolls. She didn't even know what it was. I explained to her that back in the days of the Pony Express and shortly after the invention of the light bulb, that we had a waiting period for our license and, yes, these were legally accepted forms of identification that permitted us to navigate a motor vehicle on all roads, dirt and paved. I explained the discrepancy in the dates, and with all my charm and sweetness, finally convinced her that it was a DMV error, and my birth certificate was located in a safety deposit box far, far away (well, Winder would be far, far away from the DMV Office in Athens if you didn't HAVE a license, and had to walk.....). After showing my antiquated papers to her equally-amazed colleagues, she/they finally agreed that my new license could finally proclaim my correct DOB. Hallelujah. However there was a catch. They had to issue the license in my maiden name. Not just my last name, but the entire name. I told them my legal name is Cathy, and it would be confusing to have my entire name on there. She wouldn't give an inch. She gave me a cockamamie story about Homeland Security requiring our official govt-issued identification be exactly as whatever legal documentation we have to prove otherwise. In my case, for that particular day, it was my original licenses. I suppose this would mean that instead of my birth certificate, I would have needed to provide divorce papers and a court amendment. Good grief. So. In essence, I have traded in the correct date of birth for a license that now calls me Linda Catherine Watkins Bennett. Oh well. At least I got my five days back. Happy "other" birthday to me. I'm sure there will be cake and presents.