DR: Well, my name is Rome, as you heard, more correctly originally it was Rom, from Vilna, where the family name is rather well known as a publishing house. I suppose at the beginning of the story, during the First World War the family were refugees deep inside Russia, and when peace was declared in Western Europe—because there never was any peace afterwards in Eastern Europe what with wars and pogroms and civil wars and revolutions and things…When peace came in Western Europe we made contact with an uncle, a brother of my father, Aaron Rome, who was living in Vancouver, and he ‘brought’ us was the term that was used, he brought us to Canada in December 1921. I might say that the whole story of our family and every other family in these decades of getting into Canada from Europe after 1914, each story was a saga because of the very tight and tightening immigration rules that were coming into effect in Canada. As a matter of fact, our family, after we did manage to reach Canadian soil legally, with passports and visas and everything, were detained incommunicado in a Halifax, we’ll call it a jail, for seven weeks, and very dramatically, with the assistance of [Lou] Freeman and Archie Freeman, the mayor of Vancouver came all the way from Vancouver to Halifax to help get us out, and eventually, in December 1921, we reached Vancouver as free immigrants, and that’s the real beginning of my life I suppose as far as you would want to know.
AC: But meantime, the government of Russian, not the governor of Moscow, announced that all children up to the age of 17 should leave the city because the Germans were bombing the city already and there was a lot of injuries. Mostly they were throwing fire igniting bombs from the airplanes, you know. And at night you would see, you’d think the whole city’s on fire because at night, you know, they turn, all the windows in the cities were taped with tape, you know. So from the bombing the glass won’t shatter. So all the windows were taped like that. So they announced that all the children can go south of the country. South of the country means go to Tashkent. The idea of going to Tashkent that it’s always warm, there is no winter there, there is no snow there. And because we were like that we didn’t have anything with us. I took just a pair of…what is this?
AC: Pa…Underwear…to change, socks, and that’s it, that’s all I took because I was going just for a visit, you know. But in Tashkent they said you’re okay, that you can sleep in the park and go [inaudible] in the river and wash your clothes and in an hour it’s dry because the sun is so hot like in Palm Springs, you know, it doesn’t take too long to dry a pair of…Anyways, the government organized a train to take all the people, all the young people to Tashkent.