A remarkable reunion

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A 1999 Central High School graduate and former resident of Victoria recently had an experience few people do: she got to reunite with her first car.

Amanda Dorset, formerly known as Amanda Cooper, said the remarkable turn of events occurred in December 2018, when she made the trek from her current home in New Jersey to visit her family in Prince Edward County.

She got a text from a friend, Bobby Daniel, saying that her first car, a purple Volkswagen Beetle, was for sale at a Meherrin residence. Dorset was stunned.

“I was like, holy mackerel,” Dorset said.

It was in 1996, more than 20 years ago when Dorset first heard about the 1975 Beetle from Daniel, the same friend who told her the vehicle was back on the market in December. Dorset said it was a La Grande edition, a top of the line model. At that time the vehicle was metallic blue.

It wasn’t in great condition, Dorset said. The vehicle was missing a fender and lights, and had trees growing from the floorboard.

“It was a mess,” Dorset said. “It was a hot mess.”

By the summer of 1997, Dorset, her mother and stepfather had restored the car.

Dorset got the idea to paint the vehicle a deep purple from a lighter she happened to see. Her family was able to find the color, called Plum Crazy. The day the vehicle was ready to drive was monumental for her.

“I came rolling down Fourth Street (in Victoria), and what do I see but my purple Beetle?” Dorset said. Her mom had even wrapped the Beetle in streamers for the occasion.

Her family lived at the intersection of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue.

Dorset said she drove the Beetle for a little less than a year before moving away from Lunenburg in 1999. Her family moved out of Victoria and built a house in Prince Edward. They kept the Beetle there for safekeeping.

Dorset gave her family permission to trade the Beetle with a neighbor in exchange for telephone poles.

After Dorset heard about the Beetle being in Meherrin, she contacted the owner on Facebook, asking for $500 for the car and explaining the car’s importance to her.

Holiday generosity motivated the owner to sell it to her for $400, $100 less than the original asking price because it had sentimental value. The owner said he would deliver it to her family’s home.

Dorset said she could not sleep the night before, and she met the owner the next morning.

“It was so awesome,” Dorset said about reuniting with the vehicle.

The vehicle seemed to be frozen in time. Dorset said the car still had a decal on the back window her sister had given her, which had Dorset’s name and a Beetle.

Even more significantly, the Beetle never changed owners. The title, in December 2018, was still in Dorset’s mother’s name.

Dorset and the Meherrin resident got to talking, and realized that they both graduated from Central High School together. They even rode the same bus in elementary school.

“We’ve grown up together, basically,” Dorset said.

Dorset said the resident called the vehicle a time capsule, and she couldn’t help but agree.

Dorset said she’s still in awe that she got to reunite with a vehicle she drove more than 20 years ago. She’s shared stories with friends and family of her escapades with the car. Dorset called it a modern day Herbie the Love Bug story.

Dorset’s love for Beetles hasn’t disappeared. Her current car of choice is a black 2014 Volkswagen Beetle that Dorset calls Betty.

What most surprised Dorset about the experience, she said, was “all of the coincidences that’s led us back together.”

Dorset said the possibilities for how to store the 1975 Beetle are endless. She’s considered restoring it, converting it into a flowerpot or a grill, or making it a heirloom for her children.

“Who knows what the future holds for us, but I’m just thrilled to be back together again,” Dorset said.