Emil and Victoria Dizuris live in a typical two-bedroom, two-bath Hesperia house. The inside is pristine white, with flooring, furniture and accessories all as tidy as can be. An earthquake preparedness cabinet is in the hallway. Their wedding photo sits on the dresser in the master bedroom.

He's almost 95 and she's a little younger than him.

They don't move as easily as they once did but still manage to maintain their home, health and run errands in their vehicle. With the help of a crutch or walker, they are pretty mobile.

They garden, listen to polka music and live their lives to the fullest.

Emil

Emil's story began on May 26, 1913 in Black Top, Ohio, a coal-mining town. Three sisters and three brothers completed the family.

"After school we'd take our shoes off and never put them back on until the next morning," he said.

At eight years old, he was milking the cows twice a day. When he was 12, he worked for five cents per hour, lifting hay onto the flat wagon; three hours of work netted him a whole 15 cents.

"It was good for me. Wish I could live that way again."

Back in the 1920s, his family had an acre of land.

"That land saw us through the depression." They grew potatoes, wheat, vegetables -- whatever would grow. "The only thing we didn't [grow] was sugar and flour to make bread."

Coal mining was a hard way to make a living. At the age of 16, he worked as a coal miner with his father, in Chicago, Illinois.

"I remember digging on my knees, in three feet of coal, loading the cars with my father."

The annual union card fee was $100. Al Capone's men collected the money. Emil tried to get away without paying the fee, but they finely caught up with him and made him pay.

Black lung disease - coal worker's pneumoconiosis (CWP) - claimed his father life.

Music was also a part of family life. They had a family band that played "slow lock" dance pieces at weddings, and other events.

Virginia

Virginia's life began in Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s. Four sisters and one brother, "who didn't want anything to do with the girls," formed her family.

Her beloved father died at the age of 44.

"I was just a kid," she sighed.

Her mother remarried and step-siblings were added to the family. Alone, at the tender age of 14, Victoria had to quit school and move to Brooklyn, New York, to care for a family. Her monthly pay of $15 was sent back to her mother and stepfather.

"If I didn't send the money, I couldn't come home."

Later, in the 1940s she was a "Rosie Riveter," one of more than six million women who worked in manufacturing plants during WWII, while the men were fighting in the war.

"I worked for chicken feed."

Emil and Virginia

While Victoria was working as a riveter, Emil was doing his patriotic duty as a corporal in the United States Army.

"I was just a regular with thick eyes; I didn't want to be a captain," he said. A lot of his buddies had girlfriends, but he "didn't want to run around."

Life led them both to Michigan. He was a handsome man, who looked quite dashing in his pinstripe suit. She was a beauty, with long dark hair and a trim figure. Emil was at the beer garden, where there was a "platform dance" with Polish music playing.

"The more beer I drank, the more I danced," Emil said.

They danced the night away. At the end of the evening, he asked for her phone number. She gave it to him and the rest is history.

In 1950, Emil and Victoria were married. She didn't have a fancy dress or a big wedding.

"We were poor," he said. His sister fixed a big dinner for their wedding reception. Fifty-eight years later, they're still happily married.

They bought their first home in Detroit, Michigan for $14,000.

In 1983, they made the pilgrimage from Detroit, Michigan to Hesperia, California.

Emil and Victoria bought their house for $50,000 cash. Hesperia has been their home ever since: 58 years of marriage and two homes.

"We were tired of the cold weather," she said. "Shoveling snow, putting up storm windows."

"We don't have any floods or tornados [here]," he said.

A family was not to be for this husband and wife.

"We couldn't have children," Emil said. "We didn't go to a doctor, for that, back then. We didn't do artificial insemination like they do now.

"We didn't care; we were pretty busy" he said, as his wife nodded.

Growing old, together

In their sparkling, clean kitchen, Emil produced a large shoe box full of old photos.

"Those were the days," Victoria said.

Mixed in with the photos, was an article about Emil's great-niece, his sister's daughter's daughter. Khrystyne Haje was a cast member on the sitcom Head of the Class. Her character was Simone Foster, the resident poet.

Emil's secret to a happy marriage: "Argue a little and quit. ... Stay together and work it out."

They've had their problems but they worked them out.

Today, Emil wears glasses, sometimes has double vision and his hearing is fading. He also has inherited the Ankylosing Spondylits gene from his father, causing arthritis of the spine and travels all over the body. He was in remission for 80 years until it returned, 15 years ago.

Virginia has to wear reading glasses.

They begin every morning with raisins, walnuts, oranges, sunflower seed, bananas and a bowl of corn flakes. Every afternoon, to keep their cholesterol and high blood pressure down, they eat a clove of garlic, along with a sip of red wine.

"We take every vitamin, from A to Z," he said.

The vitamins and diet must be working, because at 85, Emil is still climbing on the roof, and recently replaced 47 roof tiles.

"Don't get old, I always tell people," Emil said.

Sharon Strickland can be reached at 956-8617 or at sharon@hesperiastar.com.