Discord in Alhambra



Aug. 5, 1957


Robert D. Smallfield and his former wife, Wilma, have a novel
arrangement. Divorced after 17 years of marriage, Robert rents a room
from Wilma at their former home, 1222 S. Marengo, Alhambra, so that he can pay her monthly alimony of $60 ($429.92 USD 2006).

He has enough money to buy himself a new Chevrolet and, since he’s
single, has begun dating, sometimes bringing his dates over to dinner
with his ex-wife.

This does not go well.

And so Wilma Alice Smallfield, 44, gets behind the wheel of her 1949
Buick and vents her fury with her ex-husband, his girlfriend and his
new Chevrolet.

The fight begins at home when Wilma sees the girlfriend in Robert’s new Chevy.

"She rammed the car on
Valley Boulevard at Westminster Avenue and Smallfield sped away," The
Times said. "But she caught him again, with another blow, on Valley
Boulevard at Charnwood Avenue. At the Lillyvale Avenue intersection,
she scored the third time.

"Smallfield felt his chances of
escape would be better in the hilly section of town, so he took off for
the highlands. He lost her, too. He waited a while then sneaked back
onto Valley Boulevard. But there she was, waiting in ambush at the
Borland Rose crossing, and the duel began again with another smashup.


"In desperation, Smallfield ducked behind a warehouse at 5359 Valley Blvd., where he works, and this was the final battle scene, where the husband’s car was battered at least five more times. 

1957_0805_wilma"As Smallfield got out of his car, he said, his wife tried to pin him between his car and the building. 

"Mrs. Smallfield got out of her car, brandishing a 2×4 club, but Smallfield outran her after tearing out the wiring of her car."


During her arrest and in jail, Wilma insists she meant Robert no
harm: "I didn’t want to kill him. You can’t understand how much I love
him. I just wanted to scare him."

And that’s it for the "Hey, Martha!" story in The Times. So let’s keep
digging. Wilma was given a one-year suspended sentence and a $250 fine.

But Robert wasn’t at liberty terribly long. He died July 2, 1963, at
the age of 48. Wilma lived to be 60, dying in 1973. She apparently
never remarried. None of the stories mention any children.

And what became of the girlfriend? The Times is curiously silent on the matter.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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