Dear Toomers Trees,
I’ve grown up with you all my life. I can’t remember when the first time I rolled you was. What I do remember is the feeling that I had. The feeling of elation. Of joy. Of knowing that you were a part of something bigger than you. Part of a family that you could never easily explain to outsiders. It was something that they had to experience for themselves. Luckily I was introduced to it early in my childhood. My mother and father both went to Auburn as did most of my father’s side of the family.
Rolling Toomers Corner was the highlight of every football game. No other school had such a tradition. A tradition that encouraged you to do something that would be frowned upon in any other situation. This is one of the many things that makes Auburn Unique. The trees were a place where you bonded with friends and made some new ones along the way.
I remember when I first heard the news of the trees being poisoned. I was devastated. Who would do such a thing? What reason could they possibly have to destroy something that countless people hold so dear to their hearts? At the time, we had no indication of how long the trees had to live, or if they were even going to die at all. Once we heard the poisoning was terminal we knew that we had to go see the trees. The next weekend my mom and I, along with one of my good friends who is also an Auburn fan, piled in the car and drove the two and a half hours from where we live in Georgia. Arriving at the trees was one of the saddest moments of my life. They had been cordoned off to prevent further damage. Surrounding them there were countless mementos left by fellow grievers. Everything from flowers to cards to signs. Many people had written on rolls of toilet paper and left it at the base of the tree.
We, of course, had to attend the final rolling of the tree on A-Day this year. It was an amazing day and I had so much fun getting to roll the tree one last time. It was like everyone, just for the day, forgot that we were going to lose the trees in just three days time. It was just like nothing had ever happened. Just another football win. And it was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff and I think that we did the trees proud.
And then that Wednesday I watched the live stream from my highschool astronomy class as the trees were taken down. Every piece that was cut created another pang of sadness in my chest that I knew I would never forget.
I think it is important to note though that this is not Alabama’s doing. The trees were poisoned by one crazy man who didn’t understand anything. They had been around for 130 years without any harm coming to them. No Alabama fan had harmed them in all that time. They knew that that would be going too far. Some of them even went out of their way to condemn Updyke. They are not to blame for this. He alone is. So do not turn your anger on them, they don’t deserve it.
As an incoming freshman at Auburn it breaks my heart that I will never get to roll Toomers Corner as a Student. As I sit here trying, I can’t even put into words how much these trees meant to me and the rest of my Auburn family. I will look on with sadness each time I pass the corner but I carry with me the memories of my time with the trees and the joy that they gave me.
I am so thankful to have been a part of this tradition. I loved every minute that I spent under you. My time with you will be memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even manage to acquire a sapling Toomers tree!
What I do know is that the Auburn spirit lives on and that, even though you have to leave us, you will never be forgotten.
Thank you for everything,