Get Real, Missouri

A star with the words "Gold Star" in the middle of it.

Do you have the gold star? You know, the one they put in the upper right hand corner of your driver’s license when you’ve gotten the “real ID?” I’ve been trying to get that gold star for two years now. I’m on the ten year plan. That’s not what I signed up for though. The state of Missouri put me on that plan. I’m not sure why. I can only guess that I must have done something REAL bad in a previous life.

It all started two years ago when I got married. I promised to love in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, till death do us part, but NOBODY said anything about having to go into the license office to get my name changed.

Even so, after the wedding, I printed off a to do list and went about checking off all the boxes to get my name changed at various places. When it came time to change my name on my driver’s license, I did my research, got my marriage certificate and headed off to the land of the down trodden who hold little paper numbers and sit there in rows of plastic chairs waiting. Just waiting.

When my number was called, I jumped up and headed to the counter. Nope, we can’t help you. You have a marriage certificate. You need a marriage license. But Alabama doesn’t give you a marriage license; they give you a marriage certificate, I replied. She then insisted I could get a marriage license from Alabama. At this point, I just wanted to ask her who got married in Alabama. Me or you?

So, I went home, went to the Alabama’s website. They will not send you a marriage license. I even contacted them. A license, they said, just shows intent to get married. It doesn’t prove you actually got married. That’s what the certificate proves.

So, then I went to the State of Missouri’s website, and I found where it said I could change the name of my driver’s license with a marriage certificate.

Back to the license office I went. When my number was called again, after waiting in the land of the despondent, I went to the counter again, armed with my phone and the words on their very own website. Well, that’s if you just want the regular driver’s license. If you want the real ID license, you need a marriage license. At this point, I felt like I was in one of the movies where everybody is crazy except the main actor and he or she is just trying to figure out how to escape and get back to reality. That was me.

So, I just said, fine. Give me the regular driver’s license.

I said this because I had a back up plan. I had read I could get a United States passport from the FEDERAL government with my marriage certificate. I kind of wanted a passport anyway, just in case I found a deal on a cheap cruise. You never know when a good deal on a good cruise might show up.

And then, according to plan, when I got that passport, I was gonna show up at the license office and get my real ID. Ha! I thought I had ’em. The key word being “thought.”

In any case, I easily got my passport with my new name on it. But I hadn’t forgotten about my friends at the license office. I decided I would just get my real ID in about two years when my new “not real ID” driver’s license came up for renewal.

A few months later, I saw a story on our local television station. An older woman had gone to the license office to get her real ID. But they said, Nope. She had to have a marriage certificate with a raised seal on it. The problem was at the time she had gotten married, many years ago, they didn’t put raised seals on them. This poor woman actually had her original marriage certificate. It was like 50 years old or something like that.

But it wasn’t good enough! You know what the license office told her? They told her to go get a U.S. Passport and then come back for the real ID. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought of this cockamamie plan to get a real ID.

However, this older woman felt like she shouldn’t have to go get a passport in order to get the real ID. Now, SHE was the one in the movie where everybody was crazy except her. On the news, she said she felt like she was being discriminated against. I agree with her.

I don’t know this woman, but if I ever see her, I am going to go right up to her, say, “God bless you” and give her the biggest hug of her life. She will probably look at me like “oh oh, here’s another crazy”, but then I will explain that I, too, once tried to get a real ID from the license office.

At that point, I imagine, we’ll be like combat brothers who went through hell together. We’ll exchange Christmas cards, have a reunion every 5 years, and if either of us ever need anything, anything at all, why, we’ll be there for each other.

Except all that probably won’t ever happen since I kinda don’t remember what she looks like. It’s been awhile since that newscast, you know.

In fact so much time has gone by, the time has now come for me to renew my driver’s license. Doo da doo! I got my passport, let’s go, Dan! I head out the door with that passport and my $27 renewal fee, feeling confident. They’re gonna give it to me now, I think. Yea, they gave it to me, alright.

When I go up to the counter, they tell me I need two current pieces of mail with my name and address on them. Okay, I have the postcard that THEY mailed to me with my address on it. But, I don’t have a utility bill or a bank statement. For one thing, I do those online. You know. On the INTERNET!

But to be honest, even if I did have more than one piece of mail with my name on it, I didn’t know to bring it. You see, the printing on that postcard they sent me was so dang small, I didn’t see the part about the mail.

I did see the part about bringing your signed, un-laminated social security card. Which I brought along. However they didn’t ask for that. They asked for mail. The only mail I get is the weekly grocery store ads and those flyers for gutter guards and Charter internet. The problem is, those don’t count.

At this point, the lady said, you have a passport, just use that. Then she said, let’s take your picture. Picture?

Have you ever seen those before and after pictures of people who use meth? How do they get those pictures anyway? I think, at least some of them, are pictures of people before going into the license office and then the second picture is after they come out. At least, that’s how I felt. I know. I know. Using meth is serious. But so is going into the license office.

So, I smiled as best as I could for my picture. Then Dan and I left.

As we walked out, I was doing okay. Just a little shaky. Not really talking. At a time like this, it’s kinda best if I don’t talk. But then Dan suggested we have lunch out. This was a great idea. After all, he had a coupon in his wallet for a nearby restaurant, and we were getting hungry. We had been in the license office for over an hour. We had gone early in the month, so there wouldn’t be long lines. Boy, were we wrong!

While we were enjoying lunch, Dan looked into my eyes and said, Betty, next year, when we have to renew our plates, I can just go. You can stay home.

So you see, getting married was worth it, after all.

My new “not real ID” driver’s license will be good for six years. Until 2029. My passport is good until 2031. All I need between now and then is one piece of mail with my name on it. And then, I can reach for the star. That one gold elusive star.

Either that or I’ll just renew my passport and go on a cruise.


  1. Oh my, Betty! Even though this was a ridiculously tough challenge for you, your writing style had me chuckling all the way through your post. Well done! P.S. I vote for the cruise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got that right! Everything went very smoothly getting my name changed on Social Security and my passport, so I’m grateful for that. Thanks for reading, Ray, and I hope you have a great Friday!


  2. Ugh, what a fiasco they have put you through! I haven’t been to our license office in a few years, but I don’t remember it being quite so finicky when I changed to my married name. My daughter just got married and I don’t think she had much of a problem either. What a bummer that Missouri is so picky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, they don’t call us the “Show Me” state for nothing! At least I’m good until 2031. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a good day!


    • Well, the way I look at it, I can complain, or I can laugh. I’d rather laugh! (But, of course, poor Dan had to hear me complain a bit.) Thank you for your very kind words. Have a great Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Betty, I share your frustration with the license office. A friend of mine joked that the next time she went to get her plates renewed, she was going to wheel in her file cabinet on a dolly. I have seen so many people stand in line and then be turned away because they don’t have the required information. Regarding the piece of mail with your name on it, I used my personal property and real estate tax receipts. These are no longer sent back to you after you pay them, but you can print them from the St. Louis County Government website. Both of these had my name and address on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will keep that suggestion in mind. But I just have to say – can’t they look up online that you paid your personal property – and see your address there? Plus, I had my soon to be expired license with me – that had my address on it, too. Oh well. I like your friend’s idea about her file cabinet. The thought of that makes me laugh! Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend, Barb!


  4. You should see the hoops I have to jump through to get my retired US Air Force identification card. All those things, and more..and even getting ON to a military installation is a challenge, requiring a Security Forces Supervisor. With guns.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kind of just makes me want to stay home, or at least, not get on an airplane, cruise ship, visit another country…well, no need to go on and on about it, but thanks for making your annoyance sound like a rom com–that is always a plus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear ya! Put me in the travel trailer. 🙂 However, I do so like to visit my daughter in D.C. and that involves getting on a plane. I’m good for awhile though since my passport doesn’t expire until 2031. Thanks for reading and your comment! Enjoy your Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, Betty! I am totally frustrated for you. There is nothing worse than trying to do the right thing, then have someone say you can’t do it. I have to renew my license in May – had to make an appointment to do so – and I bet it’s just as much of a pain as your experience. I will plan for an entire day of frustration.


  7. Oh Betty, what a nightmare! I know it was not funny at the time but I must say I had numerous laughs reading your humorous rendition of this tale. My wife and I have not gotten our Real ID driver’s licenses yet and so I hope she does not have the same problem here in Tennessee. Our Marriage License is from 1979 so I better start looking for it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I was going for “entertaining” rather than “ranting.” I’m not sure if Missouri is any worse than other states. I am glad I could get my new passport easily. Have a great Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! That’s crazy that there are so many ‘hoops’ to get a name change! The updated our address for 9 1 1 and said we can get a new license if we want showing the new address. I haven’t. Ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness!!! You can bet that the next time my drivers license is coming due I am going to read VERY CAREFULLY what documents I need, way ahead of time, to make sure I have the right things when I go to the place to get the license. Your story reminds me of the time after we moved that I tried to update the address on our bank account. I went online and changed the address in the place that seemed like where you were supposed to do that. Later when I went online to order another box of checks, it kicked me into another system for the checks that had our old address. It would not let me update the mailing address there. So I went into the bank in person and explained and the woman said “oh I will fix that”. She went in the system and updated something and I went on my way. Later I tried again to order a box of checks online and the same thing happened. Old address, it would not let me update it. I called the customer service number and they told me I had to go in person. I went back in person and they told me I had to call the customer service number. After that my solution was to close that account and move our money to a different bank. haha that will show them. I was going to do that anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my! Your experience with the bank was crazy, too! I think most people can relate to having such an experience. It’s funny that the solution is to somehow bypass the original issue altogether – by moving banks – or getting a passport. Once that happens, it does make for a good story. Thanks for reading and your comment. Hope you have a great day today!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Betty you have made me laugh so hard while reading this! I could totally appreciate all your frustration, but still, I couldn’t quit laughing. Thanks for the super fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I had a problem getting the real I’d too. I took 2 utility bills. I don’t get many anymore. First one rejected because it was 4 months old. Too old. Second one rejected because the utility had my first name as Chas instead of Charles. I’ve had a Mo drivers license since I was 16, I’m now 71. No name change. Same address for 35 years. This should’ve been easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My heart goes out to you! You are so right – it should have been easy! I saw a new story today on KMOV, an 80 year old veteran had trouble getting a real ID. It’s ridiculous. Thanks for sharing your story, and if you try again – good luck! Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!


  12. I recently reviewed my license to see if it’s a REAL ID. Much to my shock, it is. When I got my last license when it came time for the photo, I had to remove my glasses and not smile; you know, so I’d look nothing like myself.🤦‍♀️During my father’s last year or so of life, we needed a copy of his birth certificate, which of course my parents couldn’t find. (Organization was not their strength.) Kenn went online and requested a copy from Jacksonville, FL. There was some cost involved but nothing major. Fast forward a few months and we needed the birth certificate again; of course it was nowhere to be found. This time when we requested a new copy, it couldn’t be issued. Why? Because the doctor who completed the birth certificate (in 1925) spelled Daddy’s last name, Phillips, with one L instead of two. Somehow, 90 years later, this became an issue. We jumped through all of the ridiculous hoops and finally received the replacement certificate a few days after Daddy’s death. I also found the original certificate shortly after that. Ugh. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like your situation was way worse than mine. And God bless you for taking care of your father. You have earned your wings. I am glad your license is a REAL ID. When my dad was born, the doctor didn’t bother to spell his last name correctly either. He took a guess, and it was several letters off! Thanks for your comment, and I hope you enjoy the weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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