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who was smart. She pointed out, “She's wonderful here in
Russia, but what the hell are you going to do with her when
you get her to America?" That stopped me! I bought Mina an
entire wardrobe, and sent her back home to Odessa. Then I
corresponded with her until the war. This was 1934. When the
war came, the answers ceased abruptly. Lord knows what happened
to her. But the interesting thing is that prior to 1940
I sent her all kinds of things, and she always got them. The
one thing she craved above all else was a portable typewriter,
and I sent her one. I said to myself, “This is madness.
They'll steal it from her.” But she got it.
I wonder if we could just go back a little bit to Moscow.
What were your immediate opinions--? You said they had all
new machinery, but were you very conscious of a state government?
Well, you see, we were at a tremendous loss because we
didn't speak any Russian, so we had to believe what they told us.
You didn't meet any Russian authors?
Everybody we met had to talk English. We didn't seem
to have anybody watching us except this guide whom we clung
to like mad because we couldn't speak a word of Russian, and
mighty few people in Moscow could speak English in those days.
They were friendly as they could be, but it was all in sign
language. Harold Laski was in Moscow--you know, the British
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