The next morning I was feeling down, thinking I would have to go to live with Olenka after all. Then there came a knock at the door. On the step stood a ragged Jewish couple. They introduced themselves as the Peckers, Isser and Tziril, and explained they had wandered into Skala in search of shelter. I let them in and gave them food and hot tea.
The Peckers were not from Skala but had come there after having been held at one of the few decent work camps in the region—a synthetic rubber farm in Tluste. They had no children or any money either. When they showed up in Skala and asked for shelter, somebody had told them about me. They heard that I was just a kid living alone in a big house. Could they possibly stay with me?
My first reaction was surprise that these adults would be asking my permission. But secondly, I was very happy to have the Peckers as housemates. Here were a pair of responsible grown-ups who could help me turn the place into something resembling a home.
They had been shopkeepers in their old town, and Tziril said she was a good cook and a baker. Suddenly, I imagined a house full of pastries and pleasant aromas.