Mondays with Melitas – May 5, 2014

TANGLING WITH THE DMV                                          CINCO DE MAYO 2014


After my 90th birthday in 2008, a worrisome thought would appear every once in awhile, and it would just gnaw away at me.  You know, if you drive an automobile, the DMV becomes involved, so I started to agonize about the next hurdle I would have to pass when my 96th birthday comes up.  I have always passed those DMV tests with flying colors. They were a piece of cake –-even my very first one when I was 12 years old.  All I did was get behind the wheel of Titan’s Hupmobile, and Judge Landell of San Juan Capistrano was my passenger, we just rode around town and down to the beach, chatting away.  Then he gave me a license.  It would be illegal these days because the Judge was a second or third cousin of my Dad’s.  Do you suppose he should have recused himself and brought in the Judge from Santa Ana?  Goodness sakes, I might never have passed.  There I’d be having to work harder to make enough money to pay for a chauffeur to haul me around for life.  Come to think of it:  all that work may very well have shortened my life.  Remember that old saying “All work and no play.”

That concern stopped popping up after a couple of weeks, and my philosophy became “Que será, será.”

That was then, this now in the present time.  My 96th was sneaking up on me, and I hadn’t budged a muscle about doing some practice questions for the DMV written test, and my left eye has been giving me fits due to the pollen content so it drops big tears all by itself, and I can’t see too well until it’s mopped up by a Kleenex. What if it drops a tear while the lady is asking me to read one of the rows on the eye test?  Panic time, for sure.  OMG, there’s something else!  There is a zit (yes, a ZIT) on the very tip of my nose.  The picture to be taken will be a winner.  Maybe I can get special dispensation, and will take a “selfie” later at home when the zit is gone, then send to them to place on my license.  I’m acting like there is nothing to get a passing grade for this license.  All this is going on only 3 or 4 days before zero hour on the 23rd.  By Friday, the 18th, I was not ready to go take the test, and the first day would be on Monday, the 21st.  That is cutting it mighty close.  Besides, I haven’t spent several weeks taking and re-taking the practice tests, and getting nothing but perfect scores like I did 5 years ago.

I think a case of nerves was settling in to ruin my weekend.  I didn’t even drag out any practice tests – I was so apprehensive.

The weekend passed, the Warden had a golf game early Monday morning, so I decided it was time to study. I found five tests on the internet with ten questions each.  I practiced.  First test = all correct.  Second test = 3 WRONG.  Third test = 2 WRONG.  Fourth test = 1 WRONG.  Fifth test = 3 WRONG.  I read through them for a few minutes because I had to get dressed, Warden would be arriving shortly, and I thought I was in the advanced stages of a nervous breakdown.  We rushed around, I was in a real stew, started out to the car, and she pushed a glass of water and a tranquilizer my way — for immediate consumption — and out the door we flew.

At 2:10 PM I stepped into the line where you start the whole process. We were in the new DMV facility in PalmDesert just off Gerald Ford and Cook.  Nice place. I was chatting with the fellow behind me, and he revealed that he had been studying for weeks.  That said:  I thought to myself, so I fail, I fail ……….

This first line moves rather quickly.  This is the one where they first grab your $33, your old license, and the renewal slip.  You are through there in no time.  Now comes the sitting and waiting for your number to come up for the eye test.  If you are smart, you can get up to stretch your legs, and walk around where the stations are with all those eye test placards. This would give you some idea what you are facing.  Nothing for me to worry about there.  I can read the letters with or without my glasses.

Wait, wait, wait, and then your number comes up for the eye test.  The Warden stood up to accompany me to the “staging” area, but I told her to stay and read her book.  I didn’t want anyone to notice that I was a little tentative with the left knee cap.  It still is a bit weak, and I walk v-e-e-e-ry carefully.   It’s a good thing it was the left knee, else I wouldn’t be able to put the pedal to the metal.  I took off my glasses and read everything she asked for just fine.  Next I had to go to the picture station to get a picture with the zit on the nose.

After some more waiting, it was time for the written test.  I marked my answers, then carefully went over them again, turned it in.  There were 18 questions on the front, another 18 on the back, but for some reason you didn’t have to do the ones on back.  Then some more waiting for the results.  Not too long a wait, and I hear “FORSTER, you passed. One wrong.”  When she said “passed,” I nearly passed out.

So, instead of passing Applebee’s, we pulled in there and I called for the “Nurse” behind the bar who knows exactly what to do. And I had two.


I wonder if the DMV ever asks someone to drive for them, and they don’t know how to.  Oh, well, they would still grab the $33.


MELITAS FORSTER                                      MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


*** A note from Tammy Coia: I asked Melitas after she sent her blog to me if she has to renew her driver’s license every year now that she was 96….she said nope, I don’t have to renew it for 5 years, when I’m 101!



Hupmobile that I learned to drive in.  I also drove the judge around in this car.  The house on the hill was Aunt Mae's house

Hupmobile that I learned to drive in. I also drove the judge around in this car. The house on the hill was Aunt Mae’s house

Mel blog 5-5



11 Comments to “Mondays with Melitas – May 5, 2014”

  1. Tears of joy! 60 Minutes segment last night confirmed what you have been promoting: alcohol
    daily in moderation. Love, love, love this story!

  2. My palms are sweaty, I feel like I have been clutching the steering wheel until the end. Now I need a drink! Amazing narrative. You are too much!

  3. Congratulations Melitas! I bet that ZIT didn’t even show up on the picture! All worried for nothing,,,


  4. Congratulations!! Just looked at my license. It expires in Sept of next year. I’ll plan on doing OK and work on not having a zit!!!

  5. Lady you are awesome…..I wanna be like you when I grow up.
    luv the story, luv the lady.

  6. Congratulations Great Aunt.
    Sounds as though you are in need of a new pair of driving gloves!?

  7. Fabulous. You are an amazing woman. I love you

  8. Loved your narrative, laughed so hard I almost cried. Would love to have been a fly on the wall!! You are truly amazing!!! Sorry I missed your birthday but looking forward to seeing you at the reunion.
    Love you,

  9. What a hoot……. such a great story, john ragan had a hupmobile also, a little later model, with the suicide doors, and wooden spokes…. it was a gem. Thanks for your memories, they really reflect the changes you have lived thru…….. and your friends.

  10. I loved your story dear Melitas…Just the mention of the DMV immediately makes break into a cold sweat. I, too, had to also go through this same tortured experience. I went in merely to get the handbook to study and ended up on the wrong line and took the test and passed with three wrong…. I guess there’s nothing like Mother Experience. We must have learned something well for driving for so many years. Of course I do know somebody who drives with two wheels up on top of the curb…but we won’t go there…BELATED HAPPY B-DAY. I was so “blessed among women” I could never limp over to your table. Shucks. Mucho love from Pedro

  11. So glad you passed…but, better yet, love reading about it! You always make me laugh. Thanks, and see you soon. Love, Marcie

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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