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Story Time: Tale of two sisters

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 1:38 pm

By Lorry Myers

I reminded her again that she would need her birth certificate, marriage license and renewal notice. Someone had told my mother she might need her Social Security card so she would take it, too, just in case. Mom had heard stories of people being turned away so she wanted to make sure to do everything according to the rules.

That’s what good girls do.

Renewing a driver’s license has new rules and my mother’s was up for renewal. The License Bureau requires specific documentation proving you are who you say you are to get an updated license. A birth certificate and marriage license were required to confirm my mother’s name and together they had to match her recorded license information.

My mother was on it.

I never asked, just assumed all went well with Mom and the License Bureau until we had an extended family dinner. Afterwards, the ladies were in the kitchen, sitting and enjoying the afterglow of the meal. The dishes were waiting but they’d just have to wait while we sat awhile and visited. My mother, Bette, and her sister, Alys were the queens at our table so we were in no hurry.

My aunt is the one that let it slip. She turned to my mother and asked a question that no one else was supposed to hear. But there was a conversation lull and in that hole of silence I heard the whispered question.

“Bette, did you get an extension on your driver’s license?”

“What?” I said, butting in on the conversation. “I thought you had all your paperwork? Why would you need an extension?”

Those two sisters never said a word as the room waited for the answer. The air was suddenly filled with intrigue and mysterious looks. Sisters Bette and Alys behaved like little girls caught doing something naughty. They both had a look that said only one thing.


     Knowing it was time to come clean, my mother glared at her sister, Alys, and asked her the same question, “Well, did you get your extension?” With that, all the women around that table leaned in so we wouldn’t miss a word.    What were these sisters hiding?

Well, the story goes something like this. Once upon a time, a long time ago, two young girls hatched a scheme to change their lives. They wanted to stand out from the crowd, be different…unique. Looking back, it seemed like such a little thing, something they thought they would never get away with.

But they did.

These two girls, Bette and Alys were actually born Betty and Alice! They were not ordinary girls so did not want ordinary names. In their room late at night, with a stroke of a pen, Betty became Bette and Alice turned into Alys.

Clever spellings for such clever girls!

Who would have thought all these years later, their secret would come out. Since childhood, these sisters have lived the good life as Bette and Alys. But now, Bette couldn’t get her driver’s license because nothing matched. Her birth certificate said Betty but everything else said Bette. Also, Alys was out of luck too, because she wasn’t really Alys, she was Alice.

Their past had finally caught up with them.

Bette and Alys, I mean Betty and Alice, both had to file for extensions, and both ended up in Jefferson City at the State License Bureau pleading their cases, hoping that someone there would understand the whims of little girls.

It was the driver’s license renewal that finally revealed the big secret that shook our family tree. These two sisters had been living with childhood secrets when the adult world finally caught up with them. At this stage in their lives, they had to prove that they were the people they were born to be. It seems you can keep secrets from the family but not the License Bureau. Just ask Betty and Alice.

On second thought, better ask Bette and Alys.