Organic growing guru Scott Murray, a Vista resident, had a searing question — the kind of question that cuts to the core of a certain sense of community.
Driving around Twin Oaks, he said, “Where are the twin oaks of Twin Oaks?”
I’ve driven around Twin Oaks a lot. But it never occurred to me that the area at the northeast corner of San Marcos was named after some actual twin oaks. I always thought of it as a generic name sort of like a Springfield or a — pardon me, Scott — Vista.
So I went to the source. A lady with a past and perhaps a shady past if she sat beneath the so-called twin oaks of Twin Oaks.
We’re talking Olive Marrical, a former journalist and longtime member of the much-beloved Twin Oaks Sponsor Group. A 30-year Twin Oaks resident, Marrical — who lived from 1922 to 2005 — lately had turned her considerable talents and attention to — ta-da — a definitive history of Twin Oaks.
And I said to Olive: I have driven along these many Twin Oaks roads, along Buena Creek Road and Sycamore Road and, of course, our namesake Twin Oaks Valley Road seeking the heart of Twin Oaks the fabled twin oaks.
Lo, all these drivetime hours, I have seen many oaks, oaks the size of giant redwoods in some cases. But I have not seen “the” twin oaks. Take me to them.
Bless her heart, Olive tried. For the twin oaks stuff of legend that made Twin Oaks so, well, twin oaks-y, do indeed exist.
In fact, for many years members of the San Marcos Historical Society and other denizens of greater San Marcos, tried to rehabilitate the old time twin oaks that sit back of Deer Springs Road.
“Major Gustavus Merriam was the first settler in Twin Oaks in 1875,” Marrical said, standing with me at our rendezvous point by the Twin Oaks Market, where we met in hopes of viewing the twin oaks down the road.
“The oaks were just plain old oaks,” Marrical said. “The man that used to own the property wasn’t taking care of them properly and one of them died during a drought.”
Dead but not forgotten though. The good people of Twin Oaks and San Marcos in the early 1990s tried to revive at least the last of the twin oaks, which was hanging on by its roots. One local businessman who will remain nameless put up $2,000 to save the tree. Unfortunately, it was just about gone with a few small shoots sticking out of dead wood.
Betty Evans, a former San Marcos councilwoman, and the late Lee Fulton, a founder of the San Marcos Historical Society, finally pitched in with the idea of planting new trees to commemorate the old mainline trees.
They planted the trees all right, but at the new San Marcos City Hall on Rancheros Drive. A nice tribute, true, but in San Marcos, not Twin Oaks, which is home to 12,000 property owners and situated between such supercities as San Marcos and Escondido.
But these are the facts of life: “The twin oaks collapsed about three or four years ago,” Marrical said. “I think they just died of old age.”
What’s left of the twin oaks of Twin Oaks resides now behind a fence on private property. Unfortunately, Olive and I could not make use of our superhuman powers and fly through the locked fence to see the oaks.
Not that the current twin oaks property owners are bad people. They were on vacation was all. But Olive has spoken with them and believes they care about the legacy.
So it’s one of those good news/bad news stories for Scott Murray and his ever-questioning mind. Yes, the twin oaks of Twin Oaks once ruled. But life and the twin oaks have moved on as did Olive and I, twin oaks-less, down Twin Oaks Valley Road to our respective appointed rounds.
If you want to see more of Twin Oaks, or plan a wedding and event in the valley, visit http://www.bheauviewranch.com.