My story with Auburn began long before I took my first breath. You see, I am not the first in my family to fall in love with the Loveliest Village on the Plains. It was my grandmother that first introduced my family to the place we would one day call home. Living in Montgomery, AL and raising three daughters on her own, my grandmother would come to know and love Auburn football. It would become part of her life as all three of her daughters went to Auburn University. One of those being my mother, Jane Gibson Turner, who graduated in 1965. In the 1980’s, my grandmother held season tickets and would often spend her Saturdays making the hour drive to Auburn to watch her Tigers play. It was her passion for Auburn that prompted my parents to take me to the A Day game in 1983. It would end up being one of my most memorable Auburn moments though I didn’t realize it at the time.
After the traditional game that is always played on A Day (Orange vs. Blue), my dad, after much pleading on my part, took me down to the field to see Aubie. I was six years old and had stars in my eyes for one particular Tiger. While at the field, my dad thought it would be nice to obtain another autograph as well. On the front of my 1983 A Day program lies the autograph of #34 Bo Jackson. Thirty-four years later, I still maintain that it is one of the best decisions my dad ever made.
Fast forward to 1989. My sister was going to college. Since I was only 12 at the time, I don’t recall the details of the college search process. All I remember is being one proud little sister that my big sis was following in our mother’s footsteps and going to Auburn University. When it came to Auburn, I still had stars in my eyes. To me, as it is to thousands of others, it was and still is a magical place. In September of that year, I made the two-hour trip with my parents to move my sister, Kelly Turner Bricco ’93, into CDV Extension. It was the Best.Day.Ever. At least I thought so at the time.
Fast forward again to 1994. It was time for me to start considering where I wanted to go to college. I was going to be a high school senior in the fall, and my plan was to be accepted into my school of choice by the end of the semester. At the time, I was going through my rebellious stage. I wasn’t particularly interested in being like my mother and my sister. I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out. So, I started looking at other schools besides Auburn. I remember sitting on the floor in my room with college brochures scattered out in front of me. My dad came to the door and asked what I was doing. I answered by telling him I was considering my options for college. It didn’t take him long to assess what was going through my mind. Eyeing the brochures of colleges that were out-of-state, he said to me, “You are not going anywhere that I can’t get to you in 2 hours.” My response was to ask “By plane?” He answered right back with a resounding “No, by car.” He turned and left. Not another word was said. I knew that he was serious, so that is when I changed my course of action. At the time I couldn’t help but think my dad was being unreasonable. Now I know that God had a better plan for me than I had for myself. I knew there was only one choice for me if I was going to stay in the state of Alabama. I received my letter in September 1994. It read “Congratulations! You have been accepted into Auburn University.”
That summer, I would attend Camp War Eagle. It was then I knew that I had made the right decision to attend Auburn. I couldn’t wait for the fall to begin. The most memorable moment of Camp War Eagle was when all the campers were in the stadium. We were having a pep rally…you know, something to get us really excited about being students in the fall. It would be the first time I would sing the fight song as an entering college freshman. Remember, I had grown up living and breathing Auburn football. So I knew the fight song word for word…or so I thought. Imagine my surprise as I am surrounded by at least 100 fellow entering freshmen when I realized the words “hit ’em high, hit ’em low” were no where to be found in that stadium that night. My mother, being the gentle southern lady she is, did not believe in cursing…no matter the cause. So it was at Camp War Eagle that I learned the true words of Auburn’s fight song. “Give ’em hell, give ’em hell” had new meaning for me now. Seriously, thanks mom for that. Yet another memorable Auburn moment.
In September of 1995, I would make the two-hour trip again with my parents. This time, they were moving me into Sasnett Hall in order for me to participate in sorority recruitment and begin my freshman year. It was bittersweet as I was starting a new adventure on my own. It would be during the next four years that I would join a sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta), meet tons of different people, study, go to football games, study some more, go to more football games, and have the absolute time of my life. It was at Auburn that I found my true self. I finally was able to have a spirit that was not afraid.
Fast forward again to May 2017. My sister’s oldest daughter, Katherine Bricco, was graduating from Auburn. That makes three. Three generations of Auburn graduates in my family. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of love and pride I felt that weekend. It has shown me that Auburn is a place like no other. It is a place where people find faith, hope, happiness, and some even find love. So what do I say when people ask me why I love Auburn University? I say the thing that is always on my mind and in my heart…
Because this is tradition. This is family. This is Auburn.
“And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.”