My worst fears came true the next day, July 28th, as Oran turned in his letter of resignation to be effective between September 23rd and October 23rd. He said he had decided that trying to re-adjust to living and working in 'Udhailiyah again just wasn't worth ruining his mental and physical health.
All good things must come to an end, so after nearly six weeks of living and working in Abqaiq, Oran had to fly back to 'Udhailiyah to continue his work there on Tuesday June 15th, 1976. For a couple of days, I felt rather lost and just tried to adjust to the old routine of being in camp alone again.
In the days before desktop computers and smart phones, we used adding machines, and charts and graphs were hand-drawn, I performed entry-level project management tasks for different projects including construction schedules, manpower histograms and organization charts.
The next day, Saturday, May 8th, 1976, started a new period in our life, though, that was different and stimulating for both of us. Oran didn't return to ‘Udhailiyah as usual, but started on his new job in Abqaiq teaching a class of 12 Saudi Arabs about the new Sea Water Project. He was very pleased to be "back in civilization", but a bit leery of teaching...
Another trip to Al-Khobar was warranted Monday, so I made the usual bus connections and found another gold bracelet to buy on my one day shopping spree. I had finished a role of movie film on the way, so took that to the Post Office before visiting with Ruby and Frank Adams.
Monday morning, I went to a bridge lesson at the Women’s Club Portable, and was taught the Staymen Convention, which I didn't like and probably wouldn't use. Marge Williams and I went to lunch at the Dining Hall afterward. All that afternoon I worried about whether or not to join the Sorority because of so many other activities. I finally decided not to, so called Marge to tell her I wouldn't be at the beginning meeting that night.
Believe me, I mostly rested the next day after Oran flew back to 'Udhailiyah. On Sunday morning I went to a Newcomers' Welcome Tea at the Women's Club Portable then walked to the Post Office with Marge Williams and Harriet Fretwell. Marge went on to my apartment with me, and we visited about the dance and future activities.
On Sunday, February 1st, I bussed to Al-Khobar to meet Pat Smyth and her sister, Phyllis, who was living in Arabia as well now, with her husband, Roy Boyd. We had known Roy in the early 50's in Ras Tanura, when he was married to Ilene, who later died. We had also known Pat's sister after several trips to Phoenix, Arizona, over the years to visit Pat and Guy.
After an enjoyable five-week vacation in the United States, which included Christmas and New Year with family and friends and putting Vicky on a plane to Hawaii for her semester of school, we left Dallas on Sunday, January 11th, 1976, at 2:25 p.m. on a Braniff flight to New York.
For the next three days Oran was off work, so he stayed in Abqaiq. We did an assortment of things – visited with friends, played some bridge, and bowled. On Wednesday we went to a Halloween parade at the school and later sat on our porch passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters who came by.
Oran had stayed in Abqaiq on Tuesday as he was going to have weekend duty again, and I would be going with him to 'Udhailiyah on Wednesday. So we slept late, had coffee on the porch before a big breakfast, ran errands around camp, and got clothes ready for the trip.
Ramadan began the next morning, Saturday, September 6th, 1975. That is the yearly month of fasting, prayer, and good deeds each Arab or Muslim is required to fulfill as part of their religion, unless they are ill or under a certain age.
The next day, July 26th just happened to be our birthday, both Oran’s and mine coincidentally, but since we had done so much for the past three days, considered that to be our celebration. Sharon Morris had me over for coffee that morning, and the Kings had me over for dinner that evening.
Oran had some business to take care of that required him to go to the Administration Building in Dhahran on Monday, July 2lst, so we caught the 7:30 bus that morning. After his business, we went to Al-Khobar to shop and have lunch at the Al-Gossabi Hotel.
The next day, Thursday, June 12, started another weekend. It was really hot already, with temperatures ranging from 109 to 111 degrees in the shade. Keith and Vicky went on one of the student group outings, west of Abqaiq to the Andar area to hunt for sand roses.
After Oran flew back to ‘Udhailiyah the next day, Sunday, May 18, Vicky and I tried a morning Arabic Class with Jeanine that was taught by a woman, but decided we still didn't have time to go every day.
We still hadn't heard from Vicky and she was due to arrive in 4 days, so that evening the call that we had been trying to get through for three days finally made it. Everything was fine, so we were relieved about that.
Over the years, we have featured a variety of stories concerning retired Aramcons from around the world. Hardly ever have we had a chance to feature a current Aramcon in a profile.
Oran flew back to 'Udhailiyah the next morning, Saturday, April 5, 1975. I was called again by Ruth Cumings to play duplicate bridge, so decided to go.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The long-awaited, much anticipated Sun and Flare archives are once again available on AramcoExPats.com. Take a trip down memory lane beginning with the Dust Rag in 1945 then leading into Sun and Flare through 1970.