Most people in Auburn remember the Blizzard of ’93 for the half a foot of snow. Britney Barker Byrne, 41 as of today, mostly remembers it for the masked intruder.
She hadn’t been in the shower long. She was cleaning up because the talk was that they’d go out, marvel at the Loveliest Ghost Town on the Plains and enjoy the snow day of snow days the way college kids do. There was already a snowball fight going down in the College Park courtyard. A mile or so away, some guys were building a Batmobile. And even though it was a long shot, the roommates were actually going try to find a place for a birthday lunch (which they eventually did, at La Fiesta, probably the only restaurant that decided to open).
She was turning 19 that day, March 13, 1993, but having been matched with older girls, it being her first time away from home and all, she was still the youngest in the apartment. And that probably played a part in it. Not that it was some sort of hazing or anything. They weren’t picking on her… it’s just, you know, who else better to get a rise out of than the out-of-state (Kentucky) freshman AOPi birthday girl?
She heard a knock on the bathroom door. Um…
“Who is it?”
“I was kinda perturbed,” Byrne says. “I was like, ‘what in the heck? I’m in the shower. Leave me alone.'”
She stepped out, wrapped a towel around herself, carefully walked to the door, cracked it open.
He looked like an animal.
“I freaked out. I started screaming.” She slipped and fell, knocked things off the shelf. “I ripped the shower curtain down!”
She wasn’t hurt, just dazed. She heard people laughing. It took her a minute or two to process what had happened.
Aubie — that Aubie — had just busted in on her in the shower. On her 19th birthday. During the snow storm of the century.
“At that moment, I didn’t know what was going on. I was just really alarmed. You don’t expect to open the door and see a big tiger looking at you when you’re taking a shower.”
The roommates — she still doesn’t know which ones — put him up to it. They had to have. A couple of them were friends with some football players, cheerleaders, those types of people, the “spirit crowd,” says Byrne, who her senior year would go on to become part of the spirit crowd herself as drum major. And some of the spirit crowd were part of the actual crowd outside, walking in the winter wonderland. Looking back on it, that had to be why Aubie was there. But after that, he wasn’t there much longer.
“As soon as he heard the scream and saw the aftermath, once he saw me screaming and ripping things down, he left,” she laughs.
Once she got over the shock, and then that half a second of anger you get after being pranked, she started laughing along with everyone else still inside. She threw on her robe and went after him.
“He had run back down to all of the people in the courtyard. I think he felt safe there. It was kind of like they all knew (what had happened)”
And she knows Aubie still knows. When people bring up the Blizzard, there’s no way the image of her freaking out on the bathroom floor doesn’t flash through his mind, whomever he was.
“This Aubie knows, he remembers what he did, he has to,” she laughs.
These days, Byrne, a is a stay-at-home mom back in Louisville. She still thinks about it, too. Every time the Blizzard comes up. Every birthday. You don’t forget something like that. Her three kids know the story. Her oldest is looking at colleges now and mom brings up Aubie, the snow, the shower: Where else but Auburn are you going to have fun like that?
“It’s one of the greatest memories I have,” she says. “How many people can say Aubie busted in on them in the shower? I don’t think a lot.”
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More Auburn Snow Stories:
* Auburn students ambush Bama fan with snowballs
* Photos from the 1973 Auburn snow storm include Punt, Bama, Punt score in snow
* The (Violent) Auburn Snow Storm of 1973
* Auburn Snow-women of 1968
* Auburn students turn friend’s car into Batmobile during Blizzard of ’93
* Most romantic Auburn snow day ever