Four days later, on Wednesday, April 26th, 1978, we left on our vacation at 12:20 p.m. on a Swiss Air flight to Athens, Greece. We were finally going to see Athens, and it was worth the wait. A beautiful, modern, yet ancient looking city greeted us as we drove in from the airport.
Three months prior to the end of my "tour of duty," I met a young man from Syracuse, New York, named Charles Felice. This was his second assignment to Arabia and he worked in the Accounting Department. He had a little sports car Singer that he drove around camp.
After working a year with ARAMCO you were entitled to a short leave of absence. Reservations, itinerary and plans were always made in advance for this welcome occasion. It was the fall of 1952 and I had made plans to visit Cairo, Rome, Switzerland, and Istanbul.
The secretary “pool” was in a building in Dhahran. One day a tall, handsome man came in and said that I was to be moved to his office in Abqaiq, forty miles into the desert where a community of many families and homes was built around a water separation center. I later discovered that this man was Jack Symons, Superintendent of the Exploration Engineers Department.
It was the desire to earn and save enough money to buy a car that convinced me I should answer an ad in the Phoenix Arizona Gazette for secretaries wanted in Saudi Arabia with The Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO).
So our impending departure was the reason I felt like I had to turn down Art Spitzer's offer of a full-time job when I returned to work. Kay Hays, in Work Orders, was leaving and he needed to fill that position. I felt like I should be honest with him, so he could find someone who would be a permanent replacement.
So life went on. Sandy and Jack Adams had asked an Arab friend, Ahmed, to come to their condo one night to fix an Arab style dinner; so on Thursday, March 16th, 1978, Sheila, Keith, Oran and I, and a few people Sandy worked with, joined them to enjoy that.
As Ken and Mildred Webster wrap up their long leave over the summer of 1955 – having completed a month-long tour of Scandinavia before returning to Ken’s hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut, to visit relatives and friends for the summer...
That same Friday, February 17th, 1978, there had been the first tournament at Udhailiyah's new golf club, Wadi Al-Saeed Country Club. Although things were going full steam ahead there and he had no more problems with the government, Roy Steindorf had decided he had rather go back to the States than move down there permanently.
In retrospect, I’d have to say that Aramco’s school system was superb. The company was fully committed to education even though it was very costly. I admit that I didn’t always pay attention to my teachers, but a few of them made a big difference in my life.
We had already made plans to fly to Riyadh on the AEA tour Thursday, February 2nd, 1978, so we caught a bus at the Dining Hall at 5:00 A.M. that morning to the Dhahran Airport local terminal. We flew on a Saudia Air flight to what was the old, original Riyadh Airport.
New Year's Eve had been different, and so was New Year's Day. Since the lack of daytime TV prevents the usual ritual of watching parades and bowl football games for hours on end in Saudi Arabia, it was necessary to find alternate entertainment.
That weekend on Thursday and Friday, November 10th and 11th, 1977, we went to a Fall Art Show in the Am Nakhl Golf Club House, and a Sorority going away party for Mary Lou and Chet Love at the home of Julie and Walter Busby.
I didn't realize it then, but that was to be my last week of freedom for a while. Jeanine King was still in the hospital so she requested I help out at Community Maintenance until she could return. Her boss, Art Spitzer, called to make the offer on Saturday, October 22nd, and when I asked when he would need me he said, "yesterday".
Construction of new camp facilities was progressing at a rapid pace, too. Work was underway to widen and pave the road to the new townhouses, now 25th St, and the north perimeter road. As new housing areas and the additional 9 holes of the Golf Course were being completed, the camp was expanding to the west toward the highway to Dhahran.
For a while after that our life was rather anti-climatic, but we went on with our normal routines as much as possible. Since it was Thursday and the weekend, we had breakfast in the Dining Hall, then drove to Mubarraz to call Keith.
The next day, Monday, it was back to normal. Estella and I went to breakfast in the Dining Hall and met a new wife, Jerry Hook, then went to the pool and stayed all morning. That Wednesday evening, Oran and I went to the Kaul’s before going with them to a performance by "Archie Bell and The LaDrells".
The beach facilities at Qurrayah that were being constructed by the company for Abqaiq and Udhailiyah residents were not completed yet, but a site had been established north of the Seawater Plant. Our friend, Jack Hayes, who lived on the Construction Barge there, said he had been working on the site by bulldozing huge amounts of sand onto the beach itself and into the water.
Shortly after my arrival in Saudi Arabia in 1978, I was assigned to a Gas Oil Separation Plant (GOSP) construction site, Ain Dar GOSP-4, which was a one-hour drive from my new home in Abqaiq.
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'.