October 26th 2012

The fact that Karl Behr and Dick Williams, two gentlemen tennis players who faced each other in the US Open quarterfinals in 1914 up at Newport and never mentioned that they had both survived from the Titanic just two years prior, was originally discovered by Toby Smith in 1987. He wrote this for the 75th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. (This year the story has been recreated fictitiously in a sadly misbegotten and disingenuous portrayal of both men: Titanic the Tennis Story.)

I appreciate your interest in Starboard at Midnight. It is a literary portrayal with only small bits of fiction used to compell interest. Each of these elements is carefully determined and explained for the reader. The story is built around the scaffold of my grandfather Karl Behr’s own 185 page memoir. He was a man of German-American descent, a Titanic survivor along with the love of his life, Helen Newsom who became his silent mainstay. Helen was my beloved paternal grandmother, living only a short walk away until her passing in 1965.

It was right to think of dying as a hero for the country. But would dying for country make him a greater hero than he already was in the eyes of the woman who loved and needed him?