The people from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS, as everyone called it) and the interpreter Katie, known also as Katya, drove us straight to the motel from the Los Angeles airport. We were given money, groceries, and other odds and ends to tide us over. Among the groceries was some Ivory soap, the smell of which still reminds me of my first days in America. The HIAS people and Katie/Katya did not stay long, and it was then that they arrived.
Lyuba came in first. She opened the door a crack and asked in her singsong voice, “I beg your pardon, is this where the Russians are living?” Sam peered out from behind her back. They came into the room the same way: Lyuba, tall and corpulent, with smooth gray hair, in front, and behind her Sam, dry and bald, in huge glasses that somehow managed not to fall from his sharp nose. Lyuba immediately began to take inventory of the groceries that HIAS had left for us, offering her criticisms, while Sam pinned me against the wall and burst forth in a rapid and incomprehensible stream of words.
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