"Oh yes," he replied. But he didn't know her name.
Later, at another event, I visited with Marilyn Chrisman, who, like Chadney and Neville, is a longtime Glendale resident. As a young child, Chrisman had friends who lived near the corner of Cañada and Opechee, so one day she "walked over and said hello. I loved to talk to older people and hear their stories. Sometimes they would give me milk and cookies."
I thought perhaps the library's Special Collections would contain newspaper clippings about the tent lady, but I couldn't access them until I had a proper name.
Then several months later, at another event, Tom Stoever told me he had moved to that neighborhood with his parents, Bob and Margaret Stoever, in 1939, when he was 3.
"Her house had burned down," he said.
"There was a huge old oak tree in the middle of her property and she camped under it. Her tent was pieced together from blankets and canvas, some of it was staked. She would sit in front of her tent. My father would bring her food and clothing and blankets. He was one of the few people she would talk to. She wouldn't let me or my brother on her property. Her name was Marr," he added.
Armed with a name, I went off to Special Collections and found a thick file on Winifred Marr, who had no known relatives.
A 1947 Los Angeles Times article described her as a rugged individualist who regularly attended Glendale City Council meetings and demanded her citizen's right to peruse the transcript. Once the parks department trimmed one of her trees and she charged department workers with trespassing.
Marr was born in Maine and came West in 1906, purchasing the property in 1910, when Cañada was still a dirt lane.
She had a small portable house brought out from Los Angeles and set up on the property some time later. It burned to the ground in 1928.
Well versed in the law, she vowed never to relinquish her property and put up her tent.
Over the years, neighbors brought her food and other assistance. Bee Jolly, who worked as a maid for a nearby family, made frequent trips across the street to bring Marr food and newspapers, according to a March 1950 article in the Glendale News-Press.
That same month, at the age of 78, Marr fell ill with pneumonia and was taken to a hospital.
She had spent 22 years in her tent. She died at 83 in a San Gabriel sanitarium.