Irene Lofland lived the first six years of her life in Minsk, Belarus, but she has no memories of that life.
Irene’s parents Jacob and Elena Garelik fled the Soviet regime in search of religious freedom and a better life for their daughter, whom they brought to Denver in January, 1977. That’s where Irene’s memories begin.
“I imagine it was the challenge of the change that my memory starts here,” Lofland reasons.
“I started first grade more than half-way through the year in February. I didn’t speak a word of English.” In fact, she didn’t speak a word of English for a few months, which concerned her parents.