My parents lived in Saudi Arabia for the first two years of their marriage, where my father worked as an Analyst in Government Relations for Aramco, now known as Saudi Aramco. By 1950 he had lived in Dhahran for some years. My father, Len Siwek, a son of immigrants grew up during the depression in Chicago. He was recruited and trained in the late 1940s by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, after graduating from Northeastern University and time in Naval service. I do not know how or why he was chosen, but I do know that he was studious, adventurous, a linguist, and ready to leave Chicago.

In 1953 my mother, Nora Johnson, a native New Yorker, had just graduated at Smith College, was an emerging writer and daughter of a successful Hollywood screenplay writer. Len and his fellow single Aramco comrades were given a six-week leave to Manhattan with an understood expectation to return to Arabia with a wife. She and my father met at a party and within six months they were married. They left for Arabia immediately after their wedding.