Coffee heat rising


Yesterday in an antique online copy of the old ARAMCO newsletter Sun & Flare, I came across a photo of my grade-school pal, a boy named Ennis, one of the very few kids who was friendly to me when we lived in the dreadful oil company outpost called Ras Tanura.

Ennis! What a nice kid. Last time I saw him, he and I were pushing adulthood. It was someplace north of Santa Barbara, where his parents had gone when they retired. How fun would it be to track him down and say hello?

Well. None, as it develops. I could NOT find him for love nor money. Nor could I find any trace of an obituary. So, dead or alive, he’s nowhere to be unearthed.

In fact, his tracks are so thoroughly covered, it’s hard to escape the sense that he had a professional hide his identity and location. I’m pretty damn good at navigating the Internet and finding folks who think they can’t be found — as a researcher, that little skill comes with the job. But there was NOTHING, not a single mention anywhere.

On one level it’s interesting and reasonable — how much would you pay to bring an end to the blitz of advertising and spamming email messages? Just this morning, I’ve already deep-sixed seven nuisance messages in 45 minutes or so that I’ve been reading the news, and that doesn’t count the spam that’s automatically sent to the trash.

On another, it’s alarming…why would you care enough to erase yourself altogether? Is he a federal agent? An international spy? Maybe a crime boss? Or…a nut case?

I block phone calls from most area codes but my own, by way of limiting the number of nuisance phone solicitations. But erasing your identity altogether? That’s different from blocking those who pester you.

Could he have died? Possibly. He was only two or three years younger than me. And as a male: yeah, he could have keeled over from a heart attack by now. Plus the very air in Rasty Nasty was carcinogenic: filled with fumes from the refinery, long before anyone thought about limiting air pollution. Stinking air was just part of life, back in the good ole’ days.

But there are no obituary notices for him: not that I can find. No home-town papers or remarks in the Aramco Brats pages to the effect that he croaked over. Weirdly, I found an obituary for his father Tom, which goes on and on about the family members…but does NOT mention the son. WTF?

Nor does it mention his stint in Arabia…it mentions his wife and provides her photo, so yeah: it’s the same Tom. But an entire era of his life — including mention of the son who made up part of that era — is missing. And the obit was written by his niece, who surely would have known the family members.


3 thoughts on “Disappeared”

  1. Does the obituary mention a daughter of the same age? If “Ennis” decided they were happier being “Eileen” – that could explain how there is no trace of them as “Ennis”?

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