Dorothy Van Cleave’s restored 1958 VW Beetle brings holiday cheer to Gardner streets all year long. Photo courtesy of Kiesa Kay

Kiesa Kay
Special to The Gardner News
Christmas cheer lasts all year for Dorothy Van Cleave. Her 1958 VW Beetle shines bright green, red and white with Christmas lights that shine at night, and lights painted on the doors.
“I wanted to make people happy,” Van Cleave said. “I got the VW Beetle in 1971, and I always told myself that when I retired, I would get it restored right.”
Van Cleave bought the Beetle in Colorado. She graduated from college there and lived there for 20 years. When she and her husband moved to Kansas, the Beetle moved with them. It was a pretty sky blue color back then, but Van Cleave wanted something more.
“I like the colors,” Van Cleave said.
When she opens the door, she feels like she’s unwrapping a present.
“It’s like Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Merry Christmas,” Van Cleave said.
She had the restoration done in 2016 at Kultured Custom Restorations in Gardner, and the upholstery was done by James Janzen, of  Seams to Be Upholstery.  At the Price Chopper last week, a woman who was talking on the phone to a friend in Australia insisted on sending a photo to her friend, and said the Beetle had made her whole day. It brought back memories of her husband’s first car, she said. Her joyful grin brought a smile to Van Cleave’s face, too.
“I like to see people smile,” Van Cleave said.