All the celebrating wasn’t over yet. To start the New Year off right, we went to a dinner party for only “people from Texas” on January 1. The host & hostess were one of Oran’s bosses and his wife from Bandera, Texas, Walt & Daisy Mayfield.
Oran had been back in Arabia long enough to warrant his short leave or vacation, which every employee could go on once a year. We had decided to go to Beirut, Lebanon, so at 1:30 a.m. on November 14, 1951, we flew out of the Dhahran Airport aboard a KLM airplane for a two week local vacation.
On Saturday, July 21, 1951, Charlotte & I decided to take our first trip out of camp to Al-Khobar, the port town near the airport, where many things from other countries can be purchased.
For the first time I was all alone the next day, Thursday, June 7, 1951, as Oran went back to work in the Refinery. He was on day shift from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., so we were up at 6 a.m. It was like waking up in the middle of the night, but since he was home so early, we had time to eat and go someplace before going to bed.
This book contains the highlights of my first trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I lived with my husband, Oran Wilson, and children, Olan Keith and Victoria for five and a half years in the early 1950’s. It was written for the express purpose of recording the events of my life and those of my family and friends, during that time, as I documented and remembered them.
Deflating the tires of a Dodge Power Wagon for driving through soft sand. Painted cherry red, this crew cab wagon was, even then, rare in Aramco’s fleet. In today’s most complimentary sense of the word … it’s one cherry ride.
It’s not a parade without a marching band and majorettes high stepping down King’s Road. After WW II, the camp put on a parade and big event every 4th of July.
In 1958 Willard flew over the countless dunes of the Rub’ Al-Khali to visit the preparations for the company’s first drill site right in the middle of this enormous desert known as The Empty Quarter.
Fortunately for us, Willard was an enthusiastic, accomplished photographer. Thanks to him we have this fine collection of color pictures that truly capture the people of Aramco and the places of Arabia from 60 years ago.
Midway through the 1950s, Aramco continues to flourish, achieving the distinction of becoming the world’s largest oil company. In 1955 the company reaches a milestone by pumping out barrel number 2 billion of Saudi Arabian crude.
The second half of 1954 is a time of great change for the Webster family as younger daughter Susan leaves Dhahran at the tender age of 13 to attend boarding school in Switzerland. With older daughter Judy still at the American Community School in Beirut, it is Ken and Mildred’s first taste of “empty nest syndrome” and they have decidedly mixed feelings about it.
1953 is a memorable year in the history books. Most notably for Aramcons, it is the year when King Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, dies in the fall at the age of 73. His son, Crown Prince Saud, is named the new king by the royal family and another son, Faisal, is named crown prince.
Ken and Mildred Webster presented their younger daughter, Susan, with her own horse for her 12th birthday in January 1953. This was truly a momentous occasion in Susan’s childhood, as she was “horse crazy” from an early age and spent most of her free time riding and honing her horsemanship at The Hobby Farm for years prior to this special gift.
During the first week of 1952, Dhahran District Manager Ken Webster receives official word that he will attend Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program beginning in February.
1951 is a year of great change in the world, continued conflict in Korea and the Middle East (punctuated by the assassination of King Abdullah of Jordan, who is killed by a Palestinian extremist while praying at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem), and great economic and social recovery in Western Europe under the nearly completed U.S.-led Marshall Plan.
As Acting Manager of Aramco’s Transportation Department, Ken Webster embarks on many travels throughout Saudi Arabia in 1950 and describes them in detail to the folks back home in the States.
Ken Webster’s personal stationery, with a stylized color motif of a Bedouin and a camel caravan.
The remainder of 1948 is full of exponential growth for Aramco (more than 4,000 American and 17,000 Arab employees by mid-year), royal and military visits, and a social schedule that would cripple most.
1948 shapes up to be another boom year for the Aramco. Mildred Webster continues to chronicle her family's lives and interesting tales from Arabia. Ken Webster even manages to augment her faithful correspondence with a letter about some of his responsibilities as manager of Aramco's construction department.
Mildred Webster continues to be a faithful correspondent as she settles into the new house in Dhahran, works on committees and keeps up with the increasing “social whirl” that is expected of the wife of an up-and-coming Aramco executive.