Rosalina Duval was 15 and pregnant.
Up to then, life in East Los Ángeles was far from idyllic. The oldest of five girls (and three sons) raised by a single mother, Rosalina belonged to a gang.
"I would cuss and smoke," said Rosalina, who landed in jail when a fight erupted at a party.
Miguel Angel García was the good one. The son of an evangelical preacher, he made up to $250 a day in tips bussing at popular Hollywood jaunts like The Brown Derby and the Moulin Rouge straight out of junior high school.
He was 18 when he first met Rosalina.
"I was in love with the beautiful lady," admits Michael.
Her mother was against the relationship. His mother and stepfather preferred he marry "a nice church girl."
"She was a wild woman," said Michael, now 75.
They paid no attention.
The two ran off to Reno (his mother and stepfather accompanied them) to get married because they wouldn't need a blood test.
That was on Oct. 6, 1956. "We had $11 to our name," said Rosalina, who lied about her age to get married.
More than a half-century later, the love affair is going strong. The couple, both retired, have three children (one deceased); eight grandchildren ages 2 to early 40s; and, 10 great-grandchildren ages 5 to 18.
"We really enjoy each other's company," said Rosalina, who will turn 72 next month.
They have survived the odds. Both never went to high school, and both were teenagers when they got married. Almost half of teen marriages end in divorce within 10 years, according to a study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Mr. and Mrs. García keep going.
"It's not all passion; you have to respect the other," said Rosalina, who retired in 2004 after 25 years with the Fresno County Office of Education.
"As a woman, you have to learn to keep your mouth shut and not say everything," she added.
"I believe God has a part in solving problems," said Michael, a hobby train enthusiast who worked for a car batter manufacturer in Los Angeles and later as a machinist at a steel metal shop in Fresno.
Michael also worked as a maintenance worker for a local convalescent hospital until he fell off a roof while on a side job with his brother. He is on disability.
Marriage is a lot smoother compared to their first encounter.
Michael's sister, who was Rosalina's girlfriend in junior high, kept asking her brother to go out with her friend.
"I said, 'I don't want to meet your little mococilla (snot-nosed girl),' " he remembers telling his sister.
One day, Michael has to pick up his sister to take her to the dentist and saw Rosalina. "It was love at first sight!" he said.
He loved her "pugsy nose," and she was smitten by his hazel eyes.
They dated for less than six months before she got pregnant, leading to marriage.
Carlos Duval, Rosalina's brother, was against the marriage. He traveled to Planada where the young couple lived picking grapes on a mission to beat up Michael and take Rosalina home.
"He met Michael's mother and the family and said, 'No, she's fine,' " said Rosalina.
But not everything was fine. Michael's drinking became a problem.
"For awhile, he was an alcoholic and I was going to leave him," said Rosalina, an avid flamenco dancer. "But, I didn't want my kids to come from a divorced family."
Eight years ago, Michael beat alcoholism. He had started smoking and drinking when he was 10.
"When my daughter Susana saw her dad healed, she saw there is a God," said Rosalina.
Rosalina, meanwhile, could cuss "worse than a sailor," said Michael.
He credits her for "straightening out my life."
Rosalina believes that getting married at a young age (she dated a 21-year-old man when she was 12) saved her life.
Her childhood friends ended up addicted to heroin or in prison.
"Getting married young saved us," said Rosalina.