Mysterious Ways: A Licensed Miracle

Her dealings with the DMV had been protracted and frustrating, but the payoff was very much worth it.

By Mallory Lindert, Theresa, Wisconsin

As appeared in

What do you mean I can’t get my new license today?” I demanded of the woman behind the counter at the DMV. I needed to change to my married name and buy plates for the car my husband, Dale, and I had finally saved up enough to buy. I’d waited in line for close to an hour.

The woman slid the paperwork I’d filled out back toward me, shaking her head.

“We need a copy of your marriage license,” she said.

“What about getting plates for my new car?” I asked.

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“You can order them,” the woman answered. “But you’ll need a license with your new name to pick them up.” Really, Lord, who knew getting married was so complicated?

Fortunately, things between Dale and me were simple. We clicked from the start–and I do mean the start. Our parents were old friends, and Dale and I were playmates practically from the cradle. We grew up and became more than friends.

We’d been married for just over a year. He was a dairy farmer, I was a physical education teacher, and we were starry-eyed in love.

It took a while before we figured out all the little legalities and practicalities. I’d changed my name officially for Social Security, but apparently that wasn’t enough for the DMV. Now I’d wasted a day for nothing.

A week later, the plates were ready. I went back to the DMV, marriage license in hand, hoping they wouldn’t ask for a blood sample as well. The line was as long as last time, and it moved slowly.

Finally I reached the counter. The woman reviewed my forms and my marriage license. She printed out a new ID. “Congratulations, Mrs. Lindert,” she said. “And here are your new plates.”

She began to tear off the wrapping. The first three digits came into view and I gasped. “That’s the month and day of our wedding!”

“How funny,” she said. “These aren’t even vanity plates.” She uncovered the rest. MDL...perfect for Mallory and Dale Lindert.

We’ve since transferred those plates to the minivan we use to drive our three kids everywhere. Raising children? Now, that’s complicated. But it’s all part of a simple plan.

 

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Missouri has pet-friendly license plates, with part of the fee going to spay-neuter efforts around the state. I teach animal law at UMKC, and am chair of the state bar animal law committee, so when I bought a car to supplement my old truck, I asked for "Paw Law." It was taken! I told the woman to give me whatever regular plate they had, and said I'd try to come up with something else. The plate she handed me was "KE2 DOG." I kept it, and donated the vanity plate money to a local shelter.