My wife was born Carrie Susan Samuels, but no one ever called her by her first name, Carrie, until a woman at the DMV office in Huntington made her Carrie, not for a driver's license but for a state identification card.
That woman brought chaos into our lives because she could.
My wife was known as Susie Samuels by everyone until we got married. At that point, she decided to be known as "Susan S. Peyton." The S stood for Samuels, her maiden name.
That was in 1969. Her employer, The Huntington Publishing Company, wrote checks to Susan S. Peyton. When she went to work for Marshall University, her checks were made out to Susan S. Peyton. When she moved to Mountwest Community and Technical College, her checks had Susan S. Peyton on them.
Susie has a state identification card. She doesn't drive, and the ID is like a driver's license except you can't use it to drive a car.
Those ID cards have to be renewed, which seems rather odd since an ID with a picture doesn't expire unless the holder expires. It's just another way for the state to get money.
Susie had an ID card before the chaos erupted. It was about the time the state and the feds believed they could crush terrorism by giving holders of driver's licenses and IDs the third degree when they applied for new cards.
Susie had an expired card when she applied for a new one. The woman she approached at the regional Department of Motor Vehicles office in West Huntington had that "I'm gonna getcha" look in her eye.
She glared at us, then glared at the card, which had "Susan S. Peyton" on it.
"This your first name? Susan?" she asked. Susie told her no, her first name is Carrie but she never uses it.
"And what does the S stand for?" she asked.
It stood for her maiden name - Samuels - she replied.
With an almost gleeful look in her eye, she told my wife to go home and get her birth certificate and marriage license. She would keep her old ID until she returned.
We did that, and we waited again until the DMV lady could see Susie.
She perused the documents as if Susie, an obvious terrorist, was trying to trick her.
"Can I see your Social Security card?" was her next question. Susie handed it to her.
"It doesn't have your first name - Carrie - on it," she said. "Get it changed to show your first name - Carrie - on it."
She handed back Susie's documents and her old ID card.
Then off we went to the Social Security office and asked that Susie be sent a new card with "Carrie" on it.
The clerk said that would be no problem. "You have been to the DMV haven't you?" she asked.
She said the Social Security Administration doesn't care, within reason, what name is on the card. Social Security goes by one's Social Security number, not one's name.
What a concept.
Eventually Susie got her Social Security ID with Carrie on it and her new ID with Carrie on it.
And now everyone who sees her ID calls her Carrie, especially medical people, of whom there seems to be millions these days.
Sometimes Susie doesn't reply because she doesn't recognize it as her name.
Thank you, DMV lady. You will be remembered for as long as we live.
Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is email@example.com.