Visiting childhood - ARAMCO compounds - Ras Tanura

I was blessed by a very special childhood in that I grew up in Saudi Arabia. My father was an engineer who worked for the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). We were there for all of my school years of 1971 through 1987. 

In 1980 the company ownership changed to the Saudi Arabian government, making it thereafter known as Saudi Aramco. The new management has never forgotten those that laid the groundwork. Without the westerners who came to build this mighty company, they would have had nothing. For this reason, Saudi Aramco has always been thankful to the Americans and foreigners that were the foundation. They show this appreciation is a most wonderful way - they allow us to return to our Mideast home every few years and treat us as VIPs.

In this post I just want to keep some pictures of home and the changes that have taken place.

We'll start in Ras Tanura/Najmah where I spent first through fourth grades. We always called it RT, but technically RT is the petroleum facility and Najmah is the town.

These years were my happiest memories of Saudi. I was part of a tight class and I was so young and innocent. Ras Tanura was the only beachside community and certainly the loveliest. We children ran all over town without any concerns as it was the safest place in the world. Our parents never worried about us.

I returned with two of my classmates, Robert and Rihab, as well as Robert's younger brother Randall and their friend Henry.

 The golf clubhouse

Still sand fairways here. Dhahran has been upgraded to grass.

 View down Surf Ave from the golf course.

 The movie theater. My fondest memories here were intersession movies - all the Disney classics (Gnomemobile, Herbie Rides Again) and Catholic mass and my first communion.

 Across from the theater was the Snack Bar. In the day the favored order was mashed potatoes and gravy.

 My elementary school now has a fence around it and has 5th through 9th grades.

 Outside the gym is this 2-3 foot wall where we would play things like tag or keep away.

I spent DAYS at the pool. I LOVED going to the pool. It's also where I learned to swim. Used to wet pillowcases, inflate them with air, and use them as floaties. 

 Even the baby pool was fun to play in.

 Yet it all seems smaller than I thought. 

 The area between the Snack Bar and Theater going to the pool.

 The main entrance to the Surf House, the recreation area for RT.

 New addition

 In back of the Surf House is the huge patio area we used for fairs and festivals. I remember many Brownie and Girl Scout activities here. The round stage is different. Ours was detached and walled. It had a small lip around it and I used to try to creep on tip toes holding on as I made my way around the outer edge.

 The gorgeous beaches are now tar free and have chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas.

 The bowling center was moved from the original location to a new addition.

 The dining hall is now contracted out and a lot different.

 We never got to live in the new homes on the beach, but Robert and Randall did. Looking at their house, which is the same model as mine was in Dhahran.

Both my RT houses are no more. Our main house, behind the school, is now a parking lot.

 This new training building used to be the school baseball field.

 The tennis courts are roughly the same area, but the configuration seems different than my memories!

My BFF back then, Kathy Geddes, lived across from the tennis courts. I'm thinking this was her house. They look so different after upgrades, wall and hedge removals, etc.