With tears, a bouquet of pink roses and a welcome sign that boasted “We Did It Our Way” in English and Russian, Tony Bartholomew, until recently a Fullerton resident, welcomed his Soviet wife Monday to a new life together in the United States.
“This is a day Tat and I have fantasized about in our minds since September, 1982,” Bartholomew said in a brief statement before the plane carrying his wife landed. “I am happy beyond any description I can give you, and I believe that Tat is the same.”
Tatyana Bondareva Bartholomew, 27, is the second spouse of an American citizen to emigrate from the Soviet Union since Moscow reversed a long-held policy and granted nine spouses exit visas last month. On Sunday, Helle Frejus was reunited with her American husband, Kazimierz, in Los Angeles.
Shared a Taxi
The Bartholomews, who have been married since 1983, met during a business trip he made to Moscow in 1981. In an earlier interview with The Times, Tony Bartholomew recalled that during a snowstorm in the Soviet capital, he was trying to hail a cab when one pulled up and a woman passenger asked in fluent English: “Would you like to share a taxi?”
In the course of the ride, Bartholomew, a 47-year-old engineer, said he got the woman’s telephone number and called to invite her to dinner the next evening. The romance blossomed during half a dozen further business trips he made over the next two years.
While waiting for his wife to be allowed to join him, Bartholomew has been living at a Glendale hotel since March. Before then, he lived with his parents in Fountain Valley.
Tatyana Bartholomew, wearing a short, white fur jacket and black slacks and carrying a stuffed animal, arrived at Baltimore Washington International Airport after 2 1/2 days of travel. She did not speak to reporters. According to earlier interviews, Bartholomew said his wife is a world history teacher who speaks five languages and also has studied ballet.
To Appear on Television
After clearing customs, Mrs. Bartholomew and her husband, who wore cowboy boots, yellow slacks and a yellow pullover, were whisked away in a private limousine to appear on a television show in New York.
Capt. Robert Lewis, pilot of the World Airways jumbo jet on which Mrs. Bartholomew was a passenger, said the crew was aware that she was aboard but that she was given no special treatment.
More than two dozen couples remain divided because the partner in the Soviet Union cannot get permission to emigrate. Most of the couples met while the American spouse was studying in the Soviet Union.
On Monday, Tony Bartholomew tried to offer some hope for those whose spouses have not yet been allowed to leave for the United States.
“Happy New Year to the people of the Soviet Union and to all America,” he said. “May 1986 bring all divided families in the world together.”