We ate breakfast with Sandy and Jack at the Dining Hall Friday morning, then went to the library for awhile before going home to pick up some film to take to the Kaul’s to see on their projector. Sandy and Jack had gone there as well, so we had coffee while watching the film.
Oran wanted to rest and read that afternoon, so I went to the bowling alley to check on qualifying for the Tri-Area Tournament coming up. I put on a roast to cook when I got home before we drove to the Adams'. The Steindorfs joined us. We drove with them to their house next to pick up some of our dishes, socialized, then went home to finish and eat our roast dinner.
Saturday, March 12th, 1977, would be my last breakfast at the Dining Hall with Marge Williams at our club gathering. Estella came by my apartment and we went to the Dining Hall together and joined Marge and Marvin, Kathi and her kids, and Sandy. After we ate, we drove back to my apartment where I gave the Williams a copy of the rug laying party tape just before they left Abqaiq for the last time going to live in Udhailiyah. They were officially moved there now. It seemed odd, and I was sad and lonesome already. I knew it would take me awhile to adjust to her being gone.
Estella and I walked to the cash office, then to the Commissary and her house to have a hamburger on Arab bread for lunch. It was just nice to have somebody to do something with the rest of that day.
After lunch, I worked around the house some, then went to the pool for awhile. Kathi rode by there on her bike, so we visited some more. When Oran got home that evening, we drove to her house to get the rest of my dishes. At home, I warmed up the roast, so we had another nice meal.
So another period in my life in Saudi Arabia ended. I would have to find someone else to go to breakfast and the pool with. Kathi wasn't available all the time because of her kids, so it would more than likely be Estella. I had to stay at home and wait on the plumber to come to fix my commode the next day anyway, so I washed and vacuumed.
On Monday, Estella and I did go back to the Dining Hall, and ended up sitting and having breakfast with June Ritter, Jean Sompel, Silvia Enfield, and Linda Snapp. So others were enjoying getting out, as well. But the plumbers were back at my house again the next day to put in a new bathtub drain, so that took care of that day.
Wednesday, March 16th, 1977, was Jerry King's birthday, so we finished up that week by having he and Jeanine over for dinner before going with them to a dance at the Golf Club House.
We went on another bus trip to Ras Tanura to visit Pat and Guy Smyth again on the weekend.
Thursday night we went to a St. Patrick's Day dance at the Fluor Construction Camp in Rahima with them, Rose and Jack Mowbray and Art Moehlenbruck. We had hoped to go to the beach the next day before starting back to Abqaiq, but the weather had gotten cool again. Earlier it had seemed almost like summer already. We did go to see a new A-frame house type that had been built before going to the Dining Hall for breakfast. We caught the 1 o'clock bus to Dhahran, then a taxi on to Abqaiq.
The first part of the next week went much the same as before, but on Monday, March 21st, I caught the plane to Udhailiyah at 3:20 with Estella, Kathi and her kids, and Deene Robichaux. There was another dinner and performance by the group who had been in Abqaiq a week and a half ago, and we would stay with the Williams. So I went to Marge and Marvin's, and Oran drove down from Mubarraz to join us when he got off work. We had drinks, then went to John Cochran's for a steak dinner with all the others and the Betty Wright performers before going to the pool for the show. It was good to see Marge and Marvin again, and also to be in Udhailiyah. I had missed my special trips down there since Oran had changed jobs.
Tuesday morning, I went to the Cafeteria there again for breakfast with Marge, Kathi and her kids, Estella, and Cindy Werner. Following practically the same pattern we had in Abqaiq, we went to sun at the new pool for awhile, then looked around Udhailiyah camp at all the changes that had been made since families had started moving there. The ones who still lived in Abqaiq caught the afternoon plane back there. It had been an enjoyable couple of days.
Our group in Abqaiq was getting smaller, but on Wednesday evening we still went to the Kauls', then to the Dining Hall for the shrimp dinner.
The rest of that weekend, March 24th and 25th, 1977, was devoted to the Tri-Area Bowling Tournament in Abqaiq. There was bowling all day Thursday and Friday. I didn't bowl, but as secretary-treasurer of the Bowling Association, I helped keep sandwiches, coffee, sweets, and cold drinks there all day for the ones who did. On Thursday night there was a dinner and dance in the Golf Club House for all members of the association, plus the bowlers, who had come from the other two districts to be in the tournament.
Saturday morning I went to the Dining Hall with Estella, walked to the Cash Office, and stopped by Kathi's for coffee on the way home. Marge Williams flew up from Udhailiyah on the afternoon plane and came to our house. We had supper, then went with LuJean Yates to our Sorority meeting at Sharon Green's. We elected new officers for the next year, and I would be treasurer of that group, too. Marge spent the night with us.
The next morning, Marge and I met Kathi, Sandy and Estella for another breakfast at the Dining Hall. This was getting to be such a ritual that we knew all the Arab workers, and they knew us so well that they automatically started cooking what each of us ordered when they saw us walk in the door. It was nice to be so familiar with a place and the people in it.
After visiting around with various friends that day, Marge flew back to Udhailiyah on the afternoon plane. Maybe her living down there wasn't going to be so bad after all.
Tuesday I had bridge at my apartment with Norma Branch, Mary Lou Love, and Silvia Enfield; and I went to breakfast and the pool with Kathi on Wednesday. I had tried to start working on my tan some the past couple of weeks, but it had rained several times, so that didn't help. The temperature was nearly ideal for tanning again though, so I wanted to get in as much time as I could. The rain was needed and was making the flowers so beautiful, so I couldn't complain about that.
The gathering of our group was a bit different Wednesday night, March 30th,1977, though. We had purchased a small bamboo bar with two stools from somebody leaving Saudi Arabia, and we had set it up in our spare bedroom, along with our stereo tape deck and record player. We invited everyone over for drinks in our "bar room" and it was a big success. In fact, everyone was having such a good time, we didn't want to go to the Dining Hall, so we ended up getting Mexican food from Marill Truillo instead. She was our Sorority sister who had started a Mexican Food Catering Business with her husband in their home. It was really a big hit with everyone, especially Texans.
We got back in the regular routine by going to the Dining Hall the next morning, then watched a kite flying contest awhile, before looking at some more new houses. Back home, I cooked potatoes and eggs for potato salad. Cissy Mitchell came over to wash some clothes, then Jack Hays came by unexpectedly. After they left, we took a nap, then I made the potato salad before we went to a Sorority social at Judy and John Rosquist's. Everyone brought steaks and an extra dish. It was nice.
Friday morning we slept late, so we had breakfast at home, then went to the pool. But it got cloudy, sprinkled awhile, then started raining hard and kept that up all the rest of the day. That evening after supper, we went to a movie. We had tried to call Vicky all weekend, but got the same old run around from the Arab operators, so we just cancelled the call.
I started a letter to Vicky the next morning Saturday, April 2nd, 1977, then went to breakfast with Estella, then to the Passport Office and the Commissary. Back home I finished the letter to Vicky before Estella came by to visit on her way to work in the Shuf Shop. Kathi and Justin came by to visit after that, so I went to the Post Office to mail the letter when they left.
Kathi and I had planned to go shopping in Al-Khobar the next day, so we caught the bus Sunday morning for that, and as usual, it took the better part of the day. That evening, we decided to put in a call to Vicky again, and it came through in the middle of the night at 2 a.m. We were glad to finally get in touch with her, though.
Marge and Marvin both flew in from Udhailiyah Monday, April 4th. Estella came by and we met them and Kathi at the Dining Hall for breakfast. Then Marge went to get a permanent, while Marvin took care of some business. Estella and I went to the pool until noon, then met the others at Kathi's. She had fixed a delicious lunch for all of us. We stayed and visited until Williams left to catch the plane at four. I went home and cleaned the apartment until Kathi came over. Sheila joined us after work, so we sat on our porch, had wine, and talked. Oran finally drove in from Mubarraz and joined us.
The next day there was a bridge luncheon at June Ritter’s, then Wednesday night, instead of going to the Dining Hall, our group had a "Foreman's" Italian Dinner at the Steindorf's. I fixed lasagna for that.
We ate breakfast in the Dining Hall with the DeSantis' Thursday morning, and that night a dinner party was given in the front yard of our 7-unit apartment building by the Yates and Greens.
Friday morning we slept late, I fixed breakfast, then we went to the pool. Avonie was just leaving, so gave us her choice lounge by the diving board. Things were beginning to seem the same and somewhat boring. Oran worked hard each day, plus the long drive down and back to Mubarraz, and so was tired most of the time. Job-wise, he was beginning to think he had had it pretty easy in Udhailiyah, but hadn't made up his mind to leave yet, so things were still uncertain for us. We had gotten another letter from Sharon and Jim Morris telling us about their life on Bahrain and asking us again to come to see them. It did sound interesting. Sharon said there was a large, sandy beach area, with a covered pool and pretty gardens they went to a lot. It was called the Sheik's Beach, and one day while they were there, his yacht came zooming up, and three Arabs came in on the launch. One was rather short, so might have been the Sheik himself. Oran and I talked about trying to get over to visit them sometime.
The next week was spent in pretty much the same way – going to breakfast and the pool with Estella. I never thought I'd say it, but even that was getting to be a bit boring. Guess you can get too much of a good thing.
Kathi and Roy came over Monday evening, had drinks on the porch with us, then I fixed us all a sandwich.
On Wednesday evening, the group met at Kathi's for drinks before going to the Dining Hall, but Oran and Jack were the only husbands there for one reason or another.
Thursday evening we went to a play in the theater. Oran had weekend duty (on call) for Water Supply, so was on the phone most of the time during the day.
Friday, April 15th, 1977, we had the worst shamal (sand storm) that there had been since our return. The air was just full of sand, and there was an eerie red glow everywhere, with visibility only a couple of car lengths. We felt like we were in the twilight zone. The main gates were closed to keep people off the roads. We had seen one like this when we lived in Arabia before in 1952, and people who had been there ever since said there hadn't been another one like it since then. It was really weird. We went on to the Dining Hall for breakfast, then the Library before going back home. Jack Hayes came by for a visit, although he had to drive in from Qurrayah. The phones were out, so Oran went to the Maintenance Building to use the radio to call and check on Water Supply. Marge DeSantis came over to visit as well, then the Adams the Kathi came over to play tripoli, but we just talked. We went back to the Dining Hall with Adams for supper. It took a couple of days for all the sand to settle out of the air, but it got better each day.
On Monday I went in a taxi with Estella to the air strip and caught the plane to Udhailiyah at 3:20. There would be another group of entertainers there that night. Buses met each plane now, so we went on the bus to the office with Kathi and Roy, who were on the plane too, then Roy drove us to Marge's house. Norma Branch was there, so we visited until Ray picked her up to go to the house they were staying in. When the husbands got off work, we had drinks, then went to the party house (John Cochran's), then dinner. It really felt different for me this time, though. Not only did Marge live there now, but also some Contractors with families that I didn't know at all, and they were at the party, as well. The entertainers, a group called "Soul Train Gang" mingled with us again, and the food was delicious, as usual.
A school had been built in one of the portable buildings for the children of the Contractor families, so that was where the performance was held that night, instead of at the pool. So things were changing. We stayed with Marge again that night, but the other wives, who had flown down from Abqaiq, stayed in their husband's portables. It seemed strange for Oran not to still have his rowhouse.
The next day, Tuesday, April 19th, 1977, Marge and I picked up Norma, drove to the Dining Hall for breakfast, then drove around camp to show Norma the different things that had been built there. It seemed funny for me also, to be driven around Udhailiyah in Marge's car instead of Oran's pickup. We decided to go swimming, but I had Estella's suit so I told the others to go ahead and I would join them later. I took Estella's suit over to Bill's portable where she was staying, but she didn't want to go swimming, so I stayed with her for awhile. We walked around the Construction Camp area, but it made me sad, as it was all so new and different.
I got back with Marge and Norma at the pool, then had lunch at Marge's, packed, rode to the air strip with Carla and John Cochran (his wife had come down from Dhahran, too), and flew back to Abqaiq. Oran drove in from Mubarraz, so we talked about the past events and talked about how different things were, then ate soup and a sandwich.
Wednesday night, we had the group over to our house for drinks in our "bar room", then got Mexican food again from Marill.
Thursday night, April 21nd, 1977, there would be another dance and performance in the Abqaiq Golf Club House by the same group that had been in Udhailiyah three nights before, "Soul Train Gang". We weren't exactly thrilled about going again, as people were getting tired of the same type of music, but it was the thing going on in camp that weekend. So we had the Yates, Scotty Bacon, Fran and Bob Jeffers, and Les McCormick over before and after the event. The rest of our group didn't go.
Oran didn't feel well Friday morning, but he got up early to ride the bike we had shipped over, then we went to breakfast at the Dining Hall. After that Oran went back to bed, so I went to the pool for about two hours. Avonie Long was supposed to join me, but didn't get there until just before I left. Some of the other old regulars were there, though. The rest of the weekend we just rested and relaxed at home.
There were just three members, besides myself, at our breakfast club Saturday morning, Estella, Kathi, and Sandy. It was nice to still have something like that going on, though, and to get out.
The rest of that week went pretty much the same, except the Steindorfs came to our house for dinner Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, Kathi, Sandy and I went to Al-Khobar.
On the weekend we went to a barbecue and party at Avonie and Bob Longs Thursday night.
Friday started out with breakfast at the Dining Hall before going to Chris and Marge DeSantis' for coffee, then to the Swimming Pool. We had been there about an hour and a half when it clouded up and started to sprinkle, so we went home. Oran slept, while I went to Kathi's, then back home to clean a bit because Marge was coming up the next day from Udhailiyah again. Oran and I sat on our porch, then went to the Dining Hall for supper before going to watch the last of the women's softball games.
It was fun to have Marge Williams back in Abqaiq for the day again Saturday, April 30th, 1977. She arrived at 7:30 at my house after flying up on the plane. We met Sandy at the Dining Hall for our usual "breakfast club" get together and it lasted longer than it normally did as we talked and visited with everyone there. Then we went all over camp seeing and visiting with the ones who couldn't get to the Dining Hall for one reason or another. After lunch, she had some business to take care of before catching the afternoon plane back to Udhailiyah. Seemed like old times.