The Whitaker family of East Ridge have built on their family tradition as Auburn Tiger football fans. “If you can’t be at Toomer’s Corner – then bring Toomer’s Corner to you.”
Joan Nagem of Opelika/Auburn Alabama watched her beloved Auburn Tigers beat Alabama while visiting her daughter and family in East Ridge. The longtime Tiger fan is in town spending the Thanksgiving weekend with her daughter Allyson Nagem Whitaker, her husband Kent, grandson Macee and Leah Owen.
As the seconds ticked away and it was apparent that Auburn would defeat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, Mrs. Nagem thought she would miss out on the festivities that surround the Tigers’ winning a football game. Following every Auburn home football win fans flood the small intersection just outside of the original campus gates and roll the trees with toilet paper.
The pastime is termed “Rolling Toomers Corner” and has become one of the most famous celebrations in college sports. The intersection is named Toomers Corner after the small historic drugstore, Toomers Drugs, that sits cross the street.
Instead of missing the festivities Mrs. Nagem’s son-in-law and grandson had already planned a wayfor her to celebrate the Iron Bowl win.
“This started a few seasons ago when Auburn won the Iron Bowl and National Championship,” Allyson Whitaker said. “We (her, husband Kent and son Macee) were so excited that we ran out into the cold at almost midnight and rolled our Crepe Myrtle! We don’t have an oak tree and it was the tallest thing in our yard!”
Mrs. Whitaker said they started telling people “That if you can’t be at Toomer’s then Bring Toomers to you!” They did just that again following their Tigers beating the Tide. As the seconds ticked away in the game, and the fans stormed the grass of Jordan-Herr Stadium, Mrs. Nagem watched the celebration on TV and said she wished she was there.
“I looked at my husband and son and they had grins on their faces,” Whitaker said. “The next thing I knew is that Mom was being helped up and moved outside – she has two bad legs from a car wreck and getting her to the front yard down steps is hard for her. But when she saw why… she was so happy. The boys had lined the front porch with rolls of toilet paper ready to roll our own Toomer’s Corner.”
Mrs. Nagem, with the help of two more family members from Auburn, Robert and Ann Welch, was soon standing in the front yard with a roll of toilet paper in hand. The group allowed Mrs. Nagem the honor of throwing the first roll over the top of a smaller tree closer to the walkway!
A few seconds later “toilet paper was going everywhere” according to her daughter. “Mom started on the miniature magnolia,” Allyson Whitaker said. “And when it was covered we started on the larger Crepe Mrytle. Everyone was yelling War Eagle and our neighbors started wondering what was going on in our front yard!”
By the end of the rolling session several of the Whitaker’s neighbors were taking part in the tradition of Rolling Toomer’s Corner… this time in East Ridge, Tennessee. Long-time family friend, Wes Spencer, is a die-hard Tennessee fan but joined in. “It’s an honor to celebrate beating ‘Bama with Miss Joan!”
Mrs. Nagem smiled while taking in her East Ridge family and friends celebrating rolling “Whitaker’s Corner” saying simply, “We did it! We beat ‘em… War Eagle!”