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Tom G Stark @TomStark913
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Without further ado, threading of a family miracle. 👇🇺🇸⛵🛐
A few years before the bicentennial, my grandfather, George, had an idea for one of his favorite eating establishments, ‘The Sign of the Beefcarver’.
My grandparents and my mother made several crafts on display there, Betsy Ross and minute men figurines; crafty nick-nacks for the wall and mantle keeping with a colonial theme.
My grandfathers idea was building USS Constitution replicas for display in the dining rooms. He made one beforehand. Took pictures and presented them to the restaurant owner, Jack Joliet.
Jack loved the idea and commission my grandfather to build one for every location… 6 to 8…bit fuzzy on the count. Whittled back down to one present day.
Restaurants are a very tough business. A vast majority fail in 3 years. Even those that experience longevity, continued success is never guaranteed. Michigan has lost several once thriving chains, Steak & Ale and Bill Knapps come to immediate mind.…
This particular ship was the first built, and was displayed, since 1973, at the restaurants original location on Woodward Ave, in Royal Oak, established 1957. Adds to its significance without question, but that's not why it is so special my family over the years.
As a very small child I would get drug to the Beefcarver and my mom would show me all the stuff they made over the years on display in the dining room. Grandpa’s ship always stuck out to me. It was so majestic.
So large and intricate… I marveled at it every visit to the Beefcarver. It was the Woodward location that we frequented, being close to home.
My mom painted the crewmen and few other details on the ships. Even the display case was made by my grandfather, stained the wood on the base, the felt is long gone, otherwise in great shape. All very significant, but still secondary to the true significance of this ship.
Late 1984 my grandfather fell ill and was hospitalized. He hated hospitals! ‘That’s where you go to die’ was his general attitude towards them. While in the hospital, the Woodward Beefcarver location burned to the ground. Took 26 fire fighters 6 hours to extinguish the blaze.🔥
My grandmother was devastated by the news, as was my hospitalized grandfather. All those memories. There was a picture in the paper [cannot find to display] the whole place was a scorched hole in the ground. Maybe part of a charred brick wall stood... About it.
The owner vowed to rebuild and he did, he was sad, helping construct the building in 1956 and being their first location and all. This was a special building to many people. Including a host of regular patrons.

My grand parents with my mom on her wedding day June 1977.
On June 12th 1985 my grandfather passed away.
I’ll never forget that day, I was 6.
My mom didn’t make it to the hospital in time when that dreaded panic call to come, came. She was deviated. I vividly remember her curled up with his cane bawling in bed crying.
To this day, that is the worst state of sorrow I’ve ever seen my mother suffer. The kind of memory a young child retains for the full balance of their tenure on this Earth. It’s actually difficult for me to write this part.
Summer of 1985 the restaurant reopens, to look just as it did prior to the fire. The original floor plan was replicated as far as I could tell. It’s the contents, hand made largely by my family, we missed. With Grandpa’s passing, hearts were heavy and heads were low...
Shortly after reopening, my mom and grandma stop in for a bite to eat and to see how the rebuild looked. As they walked to the seats, as if being tapped on the shoulders by an angle and pointed out… it couldn’t be, could it?
To my grandma and my mother’s complete disbelief, the ship was on display!!! Right where it has always been. This was learned very shortly after Grandpa’s passing, with wounds very fresh. It was seen as, “everything will be OK” miraculous message. George’s ship was spared!!!
What was described as a raging inferno, that indeed required 26 firefighters and over 6 hours to extinguish; My recently passed grandfathers pride, a plastic replica ship, in a plexiglas case, was one of the ONLY SALVAGED ITEMS! NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE IN OUR EYES!
For years I marveled over this fact. Over the years, both my mother and I recalled the fire shortly AFTER my grandfathers passing, only recent research reminded us of the correct order of events.

☝️The brain is very powerful and memory overwrite can deceive even yourself.
I always wanted this ship. Around 20 years ago the restaurant chain was down sizing. My mother was in contact with corporate. Just short of begged them to switch a ship with Woodward. They would not. My mother did get one of the other identical ships from a closing location.
About 4 years ago I thought to walk into Woodward and get the number of the boss and just to let them know, if and when they wish to sell the ship, I’d like a call… I get the GMs number from the store manager. I put the card in my wallet.
I have this card for over a year. Day to day I forget, and think of at midnight. Finally one day I’m clearing off my back burners (plight of the procrastinator) I call, let him know the deal, leave my number and he agrees to call if and when he’s ready to sell.
Time passes. I think of it now and again, popped into the restaurant once to just check on everything. Then my phone rings. I saved the number in my phone after the first call, I immediately knew who was calling and assumed why. I smiled ear to ear in my mind. 😊
Dearborn had closed their doors and he was willing to swap the ship from the Woodward location. Something they previously were unwilling to do. I was elated! I text my mom right away! This occurred on July 5th, also my fifth wedding anniversary. Best gift ever! Thanx grandpa!
On a sidebar: When I was married I had my grandpa’s mini utility knife in my pocket and wore a necklace he had a jeweler make. The bust of Benjamin Franklin using a 50 cent piece (Pre ’64) I wear the necklace every day. 👍
Funny, day after wedding I was mega hung over, I thought I lost the knife… I’m freaking half the day. It was under the seat in the car, I did forget a brand new Kangol hat I paid $50 for the day before during the fuss about the knife. #Irony Took a week to remember the hat. 🤣
I added the American flag mat to rest on and I placed under the bow a President Trump coin my mom gave me. I consider this symbolic to charting a stronger path forward with out military.
Grandpa’s ship is settling in nicely at its for a while home. I’d like a more prominent place to display this intricate work of miraculous salvation... Soon enough. It's back in the right hands now. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
***🤬phone!📱 'with *OUR* military. BIG difference! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Gorilla... Guerilla... BIG DIFFERENCE! 🤣
Addendum: September 1997, my parents and I where in New England. Spreading the ashes of my faternial Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Oddly enough it was Nana that recently passed; Grandma Kay passed in 1989.
We took time to tour the area, the USS Constitution was a stop. I was 17, and a real punk-ass at the time. The main take away... It was SO SMALL! the model ship crewmen are NOT to scale. 🤣😜
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