From the summer of 1965 until 1972 I lived just down the block from a giant tree. Nearly every day I passed beneath it, either walking to and from school, to and from the bus stop across the street, or just riding my bike. On a hot day it always provided a cool shady spot to pause. I had no idea what kind of tree it actually was back then, although I thought it was some sort of rubber tree. Many years later I watched an episode of Huell Howser's California's Gold that featured a giant Moreton Bay Fig tree and realized it was the same kind of tree. The Moreton Bay Fig tree, Ficus macrophylla, is still there in South Oceanside, looking as healthy as ever.
Its massive roots spread out to the curb on both sides.
According to a letter written to the Oceanside Historical Society by Betty Ann (Uhler) Hillman and published in their Spring 2009 newsletter, the tree was planted in 1934 or 35 by her grandather, Archibald Orestis Cope, and brother, Richard Lee Uhler. The Copes were the homeowners at that time.
I must acknowledge that while doing online research on this tree I came across a blog post by another blogger who seems to remember this old tree as affectionately as I do. That post can be found at
http://spitballarmy.com/?p=2962 (Spitball Army: Old Man Tree).
Located at 1602 California Street on the NE corner of California Street and Belleaire Street (or Bellaire, the street signs are spelled differently at either end of the block).