6/23/2007

Getting Another Drivers License

Hard to believe but it is time for me to re-new my driver's license. Has it really been five years since my last one? Where did the time go?

Anyway, five years ago after I went to re-new my driver's license I wrote this story.

My NEW Driver's License
I went to the Motor Vehicle Express Office to renew my Maryland driver's license – Express is just part of the name of this place not a description of the service so while I waited in line for an hour I had time to think about my history in whole process of being licensed to drive a car.

I got my first driver's license in 1953 by taking driver education my junior year at Central High School in Charlotte, NC. The class was a breeze.

Four years later when it was time to renew my driver's license I was a married woman. Jim and I were living in Baltimore. Two weeks before my 20th birthday I was hugely pregnant with our first child. Jim drove me to the MVA on a hot, hot, hot July afternoon. When I got to the counter and produced my NC driver's license - ready to renew - the man behind the counter informed me that since I was not yet 21 - I was under age by Maryland law - "Your husband will have to sign for you", he said. I was livid.

"Look at me", I argued - pointing to a very large belly. "I am married, I am having a baby – why should I have to have someone sign for me to drive." He was unsympathetic to the insult. "It's the law, Maam."

Jim urged me to calm down, " just go ahead and get the license and be done with it."

I had never heard the word feminist – but I knew I did not like this. " No." I was adamant. I refused to have Jim sign as my guardian. So I left without a MD license.

I called the North Carolina Motor Vehicle office and renewed my NC license by mail - using my full name Ellouise Diggle Schoettler.

And thus it was for the next twelve years. Since Jim was in the military I could drive under my home state license. By the time Jim resigned from the Air Force we were once again living in Maryland. When it was time to re-new my driver's license I took the MD driver's examand passed it with flying colors. Since then I just go in and renew every four years - sign my full name Ellouise Diggle Schoettler, have my new picture taken, and walk out with a license to drive.

This week when the woman handed me the card and said please sign at the x - without thinking I signed it Ellouise Schoettler. When I saw what I had done – I was flustered, a little unnerved. I started to ask her to redo the card so that I could sign my FULL name - but I didn't. I shrugged. After 46 years that IS who I am.

I was laughing to myself about that while I stood in the next line waiting for my turn to have my picture taken.

I took out my cell phone, pulled off my clip earring and called Jim to tell him about it. He didn't get it at first – - then he chuckled and thanked me for calling to tell him.

About that time the woman called out "next." I sat down in front of the camera. I straightened my scarf and I took off my glasses. I even managed a smile. And then sat on the bench to wait to pick up my new license.

I put my hand in my slacks pocket - just checking for the car key. Yes, the key was there and, so was my earring.

Now, for the next five years, on the best picture I have ever had taken by one of those one-shot cameras -one of my parts is missing - my left earring.

But I know who the whole is -- Ellouise Schoettler ©2002