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Letter: A good experience at the DMV

It still pays to be a senior. I went to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles department) the other day — actually it took two times — to get my REAL ID, and actually had a very pleasant experience.

I sailed down Yosemite Avenue on an early Wednesday morning and then remembered as I was driving by Save Mart that the DMV now opens at 7 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday but not until 9 a.m. on Wednesdays. Oh well. I’d shop at Save Mart and then go to the DMV.

I already picked up a leaflet which says it is as “Easy as 1 – 2 – 3” before the visit. And it really is easy — if you have all the required documents with you.

Even though it was after nine on a Wednesday when I finally went, and I didn’t have an appointment, it didn’t take long. My neighbor, who is a retired manager of a DMV in Fresno, says it is still a good idea to make an appointment so that the DMV can have enough help.

The information sheet says to bring an identity document. In my case it was my birth certificate although a passport or other types of proofs as listed on the sheet are acceptable.


Then you must have proof of your current name. For most ladies (and men if you have a husband) if your name is different from your proof of your birth, you must have a legal document or documents supporting your name change.

I was in a tiny bit of trouble. Sherry asked me where my wedding license was from my first marriage before (although my current and last marriage is going on 54 years). I still had to have the wedding license from my first marriage to show the change from my maiden name to the next name to this one. I do pity the person who has been married several times like someone like Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe in her case they made an exception, though. I went home to find that license and returned the next day. Sherry actually remembered me.

I had my Social Security card, and it matched the name Turner on my marriage certificate. So I was good. Whew!

The third requirement is to bring two documents that prove you are a resident of California. I had my cell phone statement and my prescription drug summary in my name. There are many other acceptable types of evidence as you will find on the information sheet. But I wasn’t done.

Sherry said I was ready for the last step. She assigned me a number, and when it was called I went to Window No. 1 which was “manned” by Mary. I must tell you that she was as thorough as Sherry; by the time I finished there I knew I was real and would have the REAL ID card to prove it. Mary examined every document — again. She took my picture (on that day I tried to wear my best color) and then gave me the good news.

I AM A SENIOR, and I get a SENIOR ID ORIGNAL for free because I am over the age of 62. I did contribute the suggested $2 for organ donation, however.

If you want to board a plane or go to a federal facility such as a prison or a military base to visit your grandchildren or anyone or purchase a firearm (Heaven forbid) or whatever, you must have your REAL ID by October 20, 2020. Please hurry and go early.

As I said before, it does pay to be a senior.

— Viola J. Turner,


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