After her husband was taken hostage in Tehran Nov. 4, Judith Rollins of Fairfax County struggled each night to fall asleep before 4 a.m. She prayed to every saint she could think of and she attempted to present the proper image of confidence to her two children.
Yesterday the State Department called her at her job at J. C. Penney Products Service Center in Alexandria and told her it would soon be over. Lloyd A. Rollins, 39, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, was going to be released.
"Now I can let the brave front slip and have a good cry," Judith Rollins told a neighbor last night.
Lloyd Rollins, who had worked in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran since mid-June of this year, is one of 10 hostages -- six black men and four women -- who were flown out of Iran early to day. Rollins, according to his wife, had worked in the embassy doing administrative work.
A State Department spokesman said last night he had no information on exactly what Rollins' duties were in Iran.
After Rollins was taken captive by Iranian students along with other U.S. Embassy personnel, Mrs. Rollins said, she had no contact with her husband. She was called daily by State Department officials who tried to calm her and answer her questions. She watched television news morning and night.
"It was a time of waiting. I'm like everyone else, when something goes wrong, I turn to God," said Mrs. Rollins, a Roman Catholic, adding that in the past two weeks she has given her patron saint, St. Jude, "such a workout that he had to wear tennis shoes."
As she waited for more than two weeks with her two daughters, patricia, 16, a sophomore at Fort Hunt High School, and Terri, 13, a seventh grader at Walt Whitman Intermediate School, Mrs. Rollins said she did not believe that her husband of 17 years would be harmed.med.
"I didn't fear they were wanted to hurt him," she said. "Their purpose, I guess, is to get a message across."
In an interview last night at her three-bedroom, ranch-style home in the Mount Vernon area, Mrs. Rollins said she can understand the anger of Americans who had denounced Iranian students in this country and proposed military intervention in Iran. But she said that anger must be controlled.
"It [the release of the remaining hostages] has to be done diplomatically," she said. "People must understand that Iran is a completely different culture. They do not think the way we do."
Lloyd Rollins' assignment in Iran was the first foreign assignment on which his family did not accompany him. The Rollins family has been to U.S. embassies in Japan, West Germany, Libya and Peru.For the past five years, up until this June, Rollins worked for the State Department in Washington.
Word of her husband's expected release came to Mrs. Rollins just after she had eaten lunch yesterday. She said the first thing she did after hearing the news was "put my head in my hands and thank the various sundry saints I'd prayed to."