This Day in History

This Day in History (1986): After 47 years, a Steineke returns home

In 1986, Maxine Steineke Goad reflected on her time in the Kingdom as she returned to the Eastern Province on a "roots trip."

This Day in History (1986): After 47 years, a Steineke returns home

From the Jan. 29, 1986, edition of The Arabian Sun


Maxine Steineke Goad, daughter of Max Steineke, the man who cracked Saudi Arabia's geological code, returned to Dhahran recently with two of her children in what might be described as a "roots" trip.


Fresh from a three-day whirlwind tour of Riyadh, she could scarcely fathom the changes everywhere.


The only thing I can recognize is Jabal Dhahran.
— Maxine Steineke Goad


Well, it has been a long time between visits: 47 years since she left and almost 49 since she first arrived with her mother, Florence, and younger sister, Marian, in the fall of 1937. 


In "Dammam Camp," as the thinly populated Dhahran community was then known, the first blades of grass had yet to sprout.


"My mother and sister revisited Dhahran in 1954," Maxine recalled, "but I wasn't able to come." By then, she had acquired a master's degree in physics and was working at Los Alamos Laboratories in New Mexico.


With the abundant curiosity, enthusiasm, and inexhaustible energy characteristic of Max Steineke himself, Maxine and her children plunged into activities that took them up Hofuf jebels, down Rub' al-Khali dunes, into old souks and new computer centers, in chill Gulf waters and bumpy dikaka terrain, and to homes, including that of businessman Abdul Aziz Abahsain, who had worked with Steineke in the mid-'30s.


Maxine and Marian, in a taped interview for Dammam TV, were asked to share their impressions. With little time for reflection, they were nonetheless quick to express admiration for the extraordinary level of development in the Kingdom, and delighted to find the well-remembered Arab hospitality still in full flower.


Caption for top photo: Shielding her eyes from the sun is Maxine, seen with her mother, Florence, sister, Marian, and father, Max Steineke, probably at Half Moon Bay. Citing outings to the beach and desert among her happiest memories, Maxine recalled that the roadless terrain of the time meant they had better be home before dark.


Also on this date

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