An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

A.K.A.

When I went to renew my driver’s license this week, I took the requisite birth certificate and SS card. The clerk accepted my SS card, but warned me that I would have to have my name changed on it before the next renewal. My SS card has my middle name, maiden name and married name. My birth certificate has the name my parents gave me. I think my mother picked Carol Ann with visions of an adorable daughter with Shirley Temple curls, dressed in starched pinafores. And she did curl my hair and sew ruffled pinafores for me. But she couldn’t give me a cuddly Shirley Temple personality. And I never learned to tap dance. I was a nerd by temperament, and by age seven, I resented looking like a little doll. While I couldn’t change my appearance, I could change my name. I insisted on being called Ann. “Carol Ann is babyish,” I informed my parents.

I quit using my first name and nearly forgot about it although it remained on church records. A few years ago we moved into a new ward. In September that year, a card came in the mail addressed to Carol Johnson. Why was my sister-in-law’s mail coming to our address? The postmark was local and it dawned on me that the card might be for me. I opened it to find a birthday greeting from the Relief Society presidency of our new ward. Since I didn’t attend RS frequently, I wasn’t surprised that the RS secretary didn’t know the name I used. However, I did find her handwritten expressions of love for me somewhat disingenuous.

But back to my driver’s license dilemma. “Do you want your name to appear as Carol Johnson, Carol Ann Johnson, or Carol Moulton Johnson?” the clerk asked. No option for the name I’m called. Odd that the two names that are my true identity, Ann Moulton, are the least important legally. I ended up with all four of my names taking up two lines on my new license. And a warning: Before this license expires I need to either get my named changed on my SS card or get my name legally changed. Cheaper to get the SS card changed, but probably faster to get my name legally changed than to wait around in the SS office for an appointment.

No wonder many young women today use their husband’s names socially, but do not add his name legally. Three names are enough for anybody.

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