Danish immigrant, sailing, American dream, class stratified society


Paul Henriksen, my father, was one of those people whose life could have been a Hollywood film. It unreeled from the hardscrabble streets of turn-of-the-century Copenhagen, to five years spent before the mast in saltwater seas, to the battlefields of Flanders in World War I, and finally to the freshwaters of the Great Lakes, where he became a prominent sports figure in mid-twentieth-century Detroit. Hard work, persistence, and photogenic looks helped propel him toward the fulfillment of his own American dream.