During the time when there was a large outmigration from Portugal to the United States, Ermalinda was just 6 years old. She always remembered herself preparing to leave for her new life, she would sit in a chair for hours and just stare at the mountain peaks which descended steeply into the sea that would carry her to her new home in the United States. The trip to the United States on the "banana boat" was not enjoyable for Ermalinda. She said the conditions were miserable, and all she could think about as the boat drifted further and further away from her home in Portugal was the family that she would leave behind and never see again. .
Ermalinda spent the remainder of her childhood raised in a very modest home in Fall River, Massachusetts, smothered with love and affection by her parents. When Ermalinda was sixteen years old her father invited a border to live in their home. His name was John Rodrigues. John was 6'2" tall, he had smooth light complected skin, stunning green eye's, and dark wavy hair. John's Portuguese charm and mild mannered approach was respected by all who came in contact with him. .
Ermalinda and John became friends fast. It was not love at first sight though. It was Ermalinda's father that forced her and John to marry, for better or for worse. After all, in those days it would be considered shameful for a family to have a young man stay in a home where there was a young girl innocent girl. So in an attempt to spare the family some humiliation and also to allow John the opportunity to stay in the United States, they were married while she was only 16 years old and he 20. .
After a little growing up came intimacy, then the loss of inhibitions for Ermalinda and eventually their relationship took a romantic turn and they fell in love. In many ways John became Ermalinda's dream come true. Together their goal in life was to embrace others and to contribute to the world.