Addie Beck's Toy Story
Posted on 02/13/2019
Addie Beck, an alumni of Da Vinci Charter Academy, was featured in the Davis Enterprise for her outstanding community service!
Many people were displaced by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California back in November. Addie felt that she needed to do something so she donated some of her toys to two sisters affected by the fire. She said, "I wanted them to be able to be used, instead of storing them at my parents' house."
Below is the original story from the Davis Enterprise.


 
Three months after the devastating Camp Fire wiped out nearly everything they owned, the Norton family of Paradise has settled back into their former hometown of Davis.

Cal Norton, his wife Kimberly and children Bradley, 16; Madison, 11; and Makenzie, 7; are slowly rebuilding their lives, thanks largely to the generosity of family, friends and even complete strangers.

Enter longtime Davis resident Kim Beck and her daughter Addie, 25, who recently were going through some of Addie’s childhood belongings when they came across a pair of American Girl dolls and several boxes of accessories, all in near-mint condition.

“I wanted them to be able to be used, instead of storing them at my parents’ house,” said Addie, who lives in England but has been in Davis for an extended visit.

“She definitely didn’t want to sell it,” Kim Beck said of the collection. “She said, ‘I want to give it to someone, but I want it to go to someone I know.’ ”

With the plight of the Paradise fire victims still on the Beck family’s minds, Kim Beck searched the internet for a “Paradise family in Davis,” which revealed a Nov. 11 Davis Enterprise article about the Norton family’s escape from the blaze.

Prior to that, Kim Beck also had asked a couple of teacher friends if they knew of a deserving family. Kurt Yeaman, who teaches second grade at North Davis Elementary School, happens to have Makenzie in his class.

“This was a sign,” Kim Beck said, noting that Addie also attended NDE as a young girl.

The Enterprise connected the two families, and on Monday they met for the first time at the cottage north of downtown that the Norton family currently calls home.

“I loved these dolls so much when I was your age,” Addie told the Norton sisters as she presented them with the two dolls and carefully organized accessories, the collection including several doll outfits handmade by her grandmother.

Addie also has a younger sister, “and we played with these a lot, for a long time,” she said.

Before long they were fast friends, trading stories about NDE, gymnastics, horses and of course the newly gifted dolls.

Makenzie presented Addie with a hand-drawn thank-you note, prepared after her father broke the news about the dolls the day before.

“I was really excited,” Makenzie said.

Added Madison: “I think it’s really nice.”

“It’s been hard for them,” Cal Norton said of the family’s losses, not only of their Paradise home but also the friendships they’d made in the mountain community. “For me, it’s like coming back home, but for them it’s been challenging.”

Whether they’ll go back and tried to rebuild remains undecided.

Meanwhile, the carnage is still being tallied from the Camp Fire, which at last count killed 85 people and consumed 14,500 homes and businesses, making it the deadliest and most destructive blaze in California history.

Thinking the fire would never reach their home and they’d be evacuated for a week at the most, the Nortons fled their two-acre property with their two dogs and a few other possessions.

It was after their harrowing drive to safety beneath a smoke-blackened sky that the family saw a snippet of news coverage in which they spotted their house, consumed by flames in the background.

Since then, the Nortons have returned several times to revisit the site, which the family chose for its proximity to relatives and to nature, and where Cal and Kimberly had planned to enjoy retirement one day.

“There’s nothing. There’s just rubble,” Cal Norton said. “Basically, every place up there looks like that, unrecognizable stuff.”

That is, except for four teacups and two saucers from Kimberly Norton’s grandmother’s china that they recovered from the debris. Scorched but intact, the teacups hold a place of honor in a kitchen hutch, one piece in a household of furniture that’s been donated to the family.

“This town has been so wonderful to us. I can’t even express how thankful we are,” Cal Norton said. “I feel fortunate, that we had this to fall back on, because a lot of people don’t have a hometown to go back to.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene


Image Courtesy of Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo