Eight hours after the phone call Sandy Gubin still couldn't believe it. The State Department had telephoned to tell the Kalamazoo, Mich., woman that her husband Aleksei, whom she married 2 1/2 years ago, would be allowed to leave the Soviet Union.
"I'm exhausted," she said, exultant but guarded.
After talking to her husband this morning, Gubin told The Washington Post that he had been kept in the dark. "My huband knew absolutely nothing about it," she said. "I had the thrill of telling him about it myself. I don't think he really believed it. He's going to run to the Office of Visas and Registration this morning to see if they know anything about it."
The announcement came yesterday that the Soviets have resolved 10 U.S.-Soviet cases involving separated spouses, dual nationals and divided families. The department refused to release any names pending notification of relatives.
As the word spread, American relatives across the nation waited in suspense. Twenty-nine couples kept apart by Soviet bureaucracy for as long as 30 years had banded together to form the Divided Spouses Coalition, seven members of which were in Washington this week to appeal to the Reagan administration to press their case at the Geneva summit.
Another happy American was Woodford McClellan, a professor of Russian history at the University of Virginia. His wife, Irina, was also slated to leave. "Thank God Irina is on the list," he told the Associated Press. "It's just like an enormous burden has been lifted."
McClellan, too, was guarded because he had had no word on whether his daughter Lena would also be allowed to leave. However, a spokesman for the Indiana-based Committee on Human Rights in the Soviet Union stated that his daughter would be released.
It was also reported that Michael Iossel, the Soviet husband of Edith Luthi of Holliston, Mass., would receive an exit visa.
For others in the coalition there was no news at all from the Soviets. "We're not on the list," said Elena Balovlenkov, a Baltimore nurse who had heard from the State Department about her husband of seven years, Yuri. "Yuri has a request in, which we filed May 5. We were expecting to hear something anytime. It's been six months, and as far as we are aware, there has been no disposition about our case. No decision has been made. I'll be standing by all through."
The office of Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) released a partial report naming three Americans whose cases have yet to be approved. In addition to Balovlenkov, they are Fran Pergericht and Simon Levin, both of Chicago.
A State Department spokesman said last night that Michael Armacost, undersecretary of state for political affairs, had been in touch with most members of the coalition and that those whose relatives were on the list had been informed. Most of the 10, skittish about possible reversals, preferred to keep their good news secret.
For the others, the wait continued. Said Elizabeth Conden of Lynn, Mass., who has received no news about her fiance', Victor Novikov, "My fiance' is not one of the 10. I have spoken to someone at the State Department. As far as they know, Victor is not one of them . . . They feel that the Soviets will continue to review the cases . . . In light of that fact, I would like to think that I can be optimistic."