So I called the county offices in California where I was divorced and found out what I needed to do. Sent the blank check (open ended for fees) and a letter asking for a certified copy of my divorce. This came promptly, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, this was just one page saying the the interlocutory judgment given six months earlier was now in effect. There was nothing on the official divorce decree about my name change. So I sent off another letter and another blank check asking for a certified copy of the the interlocutory judgment. This came yesterday.
So I trudged off today to the Social Security office, patiently waited my turn, (amazingly I had less than a five minute wait) and finally, 38 years later, I have an accurate Social Security card.
Next stop... Medicare. Kate