Emma Oliver and Sam Oliver
DescriptionSpouses Emma Oliver (22) and Sam Oliver (24) recount the trajectory of their relationship from initial meeting to marriage. Emma also describes her relationships with her mother and father.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Emma Oliver
- Sam Oliver
Recording LocationCrosstown Concourse
Venue / Recording Kit
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00:03 Hi, my name is Emma Oliver. I am 22 years old. Today is Saturday, October 5th, 2019. We are in Memphis Tennessee. My interview partner is Sam Oliver, and he is my husband. Hello, my name is Simon Bolivar. I am 24 years old today's date is Saturday, October 5th, 2019. We are in Memphis, Tennessee.
00:29 My partner is Emma Oliver, and she is my wife.
00:34 So Emma what people been asking us about how we met how I fell in love? Could you share a little bit light on that? A lot of people have asked this recently and we realized our story is a lot more interesting than what we may have first. So we met in college math class of all places in 2017. I think as far as I can remember all the cousins 1717 sounds good with math pillows for University back in Florence, Alabama to University of North Alabama. And so basically we had many t8i positions at our college and we met at a training there and at the time Sam had a girlfriend, so I didn't really think much of you, you know, just we were friends really good friends for
01:34 About a year as Matt Vela together. We had a few math classes together and then the following summer so summer of 2000's. I was summer 2017 women fall 2016 Summer 2017 is when I went to Clemson University for her Research Institute, and I was gone for six weeks and during like the first week of that trip you texted me. And do you remember what you said? I was on a hike and when the hiking trails of the Collegetown we are at and I asked you which I knew you had taken this past several times. So I basically asked you which way to go inside didn't even get your text until
02:28 About two hours after you sent us a home. Yeah, and I was with a couple of my friends Holly and Molly and Halle is he knows my best friend from college. She was like a mi he's totally like in love with you guys like how he's nice still got a girlfriend. And so I texted you back. It was just a casual conversation that kind of died off later that evening and so
02:59 The week went by during
03:03 That week and you texted me again later in the week and just strike up a casual conversation and I was beginning to get curious because I knew that you were extremely nice but didn't really anticipate you would be texting me that much when we were in two different states very far apart. And so I finally got up the courage to ask if you still had a girlfriend and you said
03:31 Wasn't at the time that I still did so I spilled it and then a week later was when you asked was when I text you and said that we had taken a break and so I thought I'd well this is very interesting. We're and states that are several hundred miles apart. And so I wasn't planning on pursuing anything at the time. I just really was enjoying texting you as my friend and then you later in that same week texted me and brought up that you remember what you brought up after that.
04:15 From the Instagram
04:18 Oh, yes. So another ex-girlfriend had wound up not contact me through Instagram.
04:27 I don't remember what cheese it said but trying to rekindle something that was not there anyway, but it was stressful and I felt like you were the best person to help me deal with that. So I approach to helping you deal with that was to confess my love to you and I very very long text that basically read along the lines up. I don't expect you to want to pursue anything right now, but that's being in different states. And with you having just broken up with somebody but I feel like if I don't say anything now, I may not ever get to say anything. So that happened and then you said something along the lines of your right? I'm not really interested in pursuing anything right now, but thanks for the info.
05:17 And then we can send you the text just as friends and towards the end of my time and Clemson, I found out Sam would be traveling to Charleston to help his sister and brother-in-law move in and that he would be up there for six weeks as well. But our time there would not overlap together. So we decided we would meet up when I got back. There was a one-day overlay by the time I got back in when he was leaving that we had time to go get dinner together. And so we went and got dinner at Jim and Nick's Cullman, Alabama.
06:04 Which wasn't supposed to be a date, but but now it's kind of those are first day I could sound definitely paid and we definitely gave me a gift at the end of it. I didn't remember the coffee table book about coffee and
06:21 Do a keychain still have it eat? Well and travel. Yeah. Yeah, we did all that and then we went to Sonic for half price milkshakes. And while we were there is when I decided to basically just lay out my entire life story for Sam which goes something like this. So when I I was born in Memphis originally and my mom is doing her medical Fellowship here and
07:03 She and my dad moved to Guntersville Alabama where I grew up about a year after I was born and when I was three two and a half almost four years old my younger sister Amy was born with Down syndrome. And so she and I are pretty close in age. We've grown up pretty close together. And then when I was 5 years old my mom and dad divorced and about a year after they divorced my dad moved to Jackson Mississippi and cut off all contact with my sister and me at the time that really at the time that they divorced. My mom had already started dating another man, who was 25 years older than her and I'm gone.
07:51 And so yeah, so I was like in first grade when my dad moved away and stop contacting us at the time. We didn't pay child support and then when I was in second grade, my mom was like I said, she was a doctor and so she was taking care of Dawn's mom in the hospital and Don's Mama's older just really sick and just ready to ease out of this life. So my mom illegally overdosed her with 70 times the legal amount of morphine which Pastor on into the nights live and it was assisted suicide basically, but of course, that's not legal and my mom did get caught and the only reason I found out that the District Attorney's Office what's even investigating it is because Don went to the
08:51 Funeral home to make arrangements and they had taken his mom's body for an autopsy. So
08:59 So that'll happen and then shortly after that to my mom lost her medical license filed for bankruptcy and we lived off of welfare food stamps for about 3 years after that. I'm cheating Dawn still dating this entire time. And then when I was in sixth grade is when she had her trial and she made a plea deal where she served 9 months on house arrest and during that time she got a job in Huntsville, Alabama, which is about 45 minutes from where we live and so she started commuting back and forth to work everyday and was gone for about 12 hours a day, which left me to basically take care of him and get her help get her ready for school. We wrote the Special Needs Bus together to and from school every day.
09:53 We are home alone after school for several hours just the two of us. So we bonded a lot over that time became really close. And so yeah.
10:06 Continue Ashley all through middle and high school on kind of what I mean other mom in a sense, I guess and my mom and dad never got married and then my freshman year of college. So after I moved off flight Midway through my freshman year of college, my mom decided that she I guess had some sort of midlife crisis in the sense and
10:39 Hooked up with some old I guess friend of hers. If you would call it that and he convinced her to get on and online dating / hookup site. And as I remember from the first time you told me that this is an old drug rep wasn't a deep cut. Yeah, I like long time since I had spoken to each other. It kind of came out of nowhere and yeah, he convinced her sign up for this hookup website. She over the course of like six. Well for months really it was the second semester of my freshman year of college.
11:23 Ended up sleeping with several men that she had never met before. I brought them over to her house after my sister is on the bed, which I mean having basically rage my sister for having raised your sister for 7 years. Of course that really made me unhappy and all this time. She was still dating Don and Don had no clue which as a Christian. I had huge problems with this in my mom. I mean she grew up in the church and she's also Christian she was and still is our church piano. So I had huge problems with this and tried to tell her this cuz she would tell me like about all these Adventures she was having and I just said you you know, you shouldn't be doing that and if you're going to do it, you should at least break up with Dawn which of course she had excuses for
12:14 But finally she made I guess it's was like the
12:20 Straw on last straw on the camel's back. She
12:24 Started talking to a guy who's who he said his name was Rob on this online dating site from Chicago and
12:36 Rob was like Hey, I'm going on a business trip to Toronto Canada. We've never met before. Why don't you fly up to Toronto and meet me and well, you can hang out while I'm you know, doing my business trip thing. I'll schedule schedule you a massage. And so my mom was telling me about it and I at this point was that help with things. I was home for the summer by then and so I could take care of Amy. I was like, you know, what go sure if you if you're comfortable enough doing that, which I can't imagine why you would be but sure go for it like you're at but this time she had broken up with John about a week earlier because it finally that much had at least wait on her that she cut the cord and decided to
13:28 Cut that off.
13:31 So she
13:33 Didn't expect me to say go for it. And I really didn't expect her to follow through with it. But she bought a plane ticket and flew to Toronto Canada to meet this guy named Rob something about you calling her Bluff has got her onto a plane Rob and of course, I found all this out when she got back because she didn't have from the full weekend by the way there so when she got back she was telling me that he had scheduled her a massage for one day when he was on his doing like his business convention or whatever and I'll see what's there at the spa. The lady was like, oh your friend Brian who set this up. She was like, he's just a really nice guy and it was this was so nice of him to set
14:33 But for you, it's like his name's not Frank Rob and she because I live I really could have sworn that it's credit card said Brian, but I could have been wrong and then later that night when she and Rob were at dinner. He was telling a story about himself and refer to himself as Brian and almost like pull out your wallet. Let me see your license and he was like, okay and do you pull out the wall and flipped it over then and try to close it pretty quickly and my mom was like no. Let me see like pull out your eyes and let me see any sure enough. His name is Brian Lindsay order. There is no Rob to it. This is on the first day of her 3-day long trip up there. She was like what the heck? I thought your name was robbed and made some excuse about how it's a family name and Bob line.
15:33 She met him on this sketchy Adult Friend Finder dating website. So
15:40 So that was not a very good start to the trip and remember her saying she ended up they went home or went back to the hotel. I guess that night and she just cried herself to sleep and part of me thought. Well, I mean, I don't know what you expected going up there to make this man. So you met on the internet and so fast forward about two years they started I mean right after the trip they started I guess officially dating and
16:17 Now they are engaged and he has moved from Chicago down to our home in Alabama. And yeah, I supposedly have plans to get married. And yeah, so basically I told you all of this the night of our first day and what were your thoughts reactions 5 minutes of silence.
16:44 And then
16:46 To make a very long story short. I was amazed that a story as well as that for the deuce the woman as wonderful as kind and caring and honestly normal as you were.
17:00 And also I was very angry at your dad still am so that I forgot that I have I've told you now we got to go back to my dad's side. So yeah, like I said he moved off and I was six years old move to Jackson, Mississippi and the only reason we knew where you was it's because when my mom lost her
17:29 Medical license and we were living off the system. She decided it was time to file for child support because at the time when they divorced my mom with the only working parents, so that mean there was no need for her to try to get any child support from him. So yeah, he paid child support $75 a month to this day per child Which is less than the amount for somebody who's working.
18:01 For minimum wage and so why was he only paying the minimum for child support? So
18:09 When I was
18:11 A junior in high school, I you know had grown up without a dad all this time and got curious. I guess like most people probably would and so since I know he was from around the Jackson Mississippi area decided to Google his name and found what I thought could be an address for him and looked it up decided to write just a blanket ladder like hey, this is your oldest daughter. I hope this is your address and that you remember me. If you do write me back if you don't sorry, if it like at this, isn't you sorry that it made it to the wrong person.
18:54 And I sent that it was like August of my junior year of high school about three weeks later. I think it was Labor Day weekend. I got a letter back in the mail from my dad and made it to him and he said how it was an answered prayer that I'd reached out to him that he was planning to wait until I graduated high school before you tried to reach out to me and so from there I found out he so when he and my mom were married. My mom was the only one who took us to church. He was not a Christian at the time. He became a Christian during their divorce had claims. He started seeing visions from God shortly after their divorce. He carried across on his back across the desert are out in like, New Mexico, Arizona somewhere out west
19:50 Forgot I found all this out through letters and also found out that he basically kind of slipped off the grid in a sense. He lived in a house provided by his church and Dad International missionaries through his church and through I guess independent organization from what I remember and we correspond it through letters because he didn't have a cell phone didn't have a computer because he stayed out of the country a lot of times and
20:25 So yeah, he told me all this and then decided like he wanted to come up and see me and Amy for the first time in over 10 years, which of course I was all for but my mom was extremely hesitant about it being that we hadn't seen him in over 10 years. He just kind of glass didn't know what his intentions were. So she insisted on going with us, when we he was going to come to Guntersville where we are where we are from and she wanted to go with us wherever we ended up meeting him at and when I told him that he was very against it and so much so that he said if those are the stipulations I'm not coming and so I was like well, but I'm basically running back inside and it's pretty childish of you that you haven't seen your $2 is in over 10 years and you're letting the fact that my mom has been there for us and he's raised us the fact that she wants to come and just
21:23 Basically, make sure we're safe. You're letting that stop you and so fine don't come and then he wrote me back pretty quickly and said, you know what I realized. You're right. I'll still come and though the Saturday after Thanksgiving that same years my junior year of high school. We met at the Chick-fil-A in Guntersville and just had a good talk spend a couple hours there he ended up going to church with us the next day. And so all was okay at the time I guess and we continue to correspond through letters and around Christmas. I had written a letter that said started basically asking the hard questions like, why did you leave how can you go around the world and take care of all these children yet your
22:13 Only paying $150 total a month to take care of your own two children. You've not been around for anything any of our life events anything we've done and you've not even tried reaching out to us and his response was something along the lines of
22:32 These are questions that I have to answer and I'm not going to answer them. If your mother won't tell you why I left then I'm not going to either and quite frankly. I don't enjoy getting your letters anymore and wouldn't care if I didn't hear from you again, and so he didn't for a while which at the time being only a 16 maybe seventeen-year-old. I didn't really comprehend like how much that impacted my relationship with men and it was really pointed out to me by a mentor. I have to encourage Maids maybe like go to counseling just kind of work through things talk through things. I thought that could be helpful. So I did this was now we're at the light beginning of my senior year of high school. And so I did end up going to a counselor for about three or four months a Christian counselor, and he suggested cuz he knew High School.
23:32 Graduation was coming up. He suggested that I put the ball back in my dad's court and send him a graduation invitation. Which looking back at it. Now, I probably wouldn't have done but at the time I thought you know, what sure I'll listen and to what he's suggesting and so ended up sending my dad a graduation invitation didn't hear anything back from him until two days before my high school graduation ceremony and got a card that said hi Emma. Thanks for the invitation. I'll be at graduation on Friday night. And by this point I had really reconsidering whether or not I wanted him there and it decided I didn't and but I didn't have any way to get back in touch with him.
24:22 And so the town where I'm from is very small and I basically let my principal and school board members know what was going on cuz I was close to a lot of them and went to church with a lot of them everyone in your hometown loves you is the point. Yeah things but yeah, so graduation came he ended up making it to me. I'm after the ceremony before my mom even did which wasn't ideal but it is what it was a man when my mentors and very close friends called at the Muse. She was a school board member at the time so he was with me when he made it to me and I was cordial at them and everything and he's brought a gift and I said, thank you and what not, but I really didn't want to have anything to do with them and they lingered for a while and finally my mom and I just end up
25:22 Ended up believing. Well, one of my mom's friends from high school who knew my dad pretty well kind of distracted him long enough so we could leave and that's the last time that I have seen or talked to my dad. So basically I told you all this to let you know up front that my view of relationships with men what kind of skewed based on what I've seen and experienced growing up in my life. So yeah, we talked about all of this on a first date over half price milkshakes at Sonic and then the next day it's when
26:06 It's what when I load up of the U-Haul with my sister and brother-in-law Laura Nathan and we head off to Charleston.
26:16 And then spent the sequence 6 week apart, but we texted everyday or at least favorite know every day and has a Snapchat streak going as well.
26:32 Now non-existent, but at the time you we both employed snap Snapchat quiet and quite often and then you came back from Charleston, I guess beginning of August and
26:46 That's kind of when we started hanging out more intentionally.
26:52 And in my mind it was like we were getting close to officially dating if we weren't already and then I guess it was towards the end of August salmon died around the same time, though.
27:11 Whatever beer of college it was with starting back on on the same trail that I had text you about two months before or which Trail to take the weather and we got about as far away from my car as we probably could have been on that trail, which was as long as it's which it took me that long to work up the nerve to you said to me. I just wanted to bring you out here and let you know that I don't see us being anything more than friends.
27:58 With that which point I was absolutely silent for the remainder of our walk because everything leading up to that point had said otherwise from what I could tell.
28:12 And we got back to guess my car and drove home and you drop me off and went home and we didn't really talk for about a week just cuz I was kind of very confused outside of the text message you sent to me the night the night that happened of.
28:39 Was it me or you that's it didn't taste I think I sent one that basically said I'm not really sure what's going on, but I'm going to need some time to just
28:51 Not really figure talk to you if this is going to be the case cuz we've been really good friends before any of this it started going on before I spelled my life story to you and then
29:08 Yeah, so we didn't talk for about a week and then you texted me. I guess it was that Friday Night Lights on the Monday and so on Friday night you texted me and asked me out to coffee at a local place called Rivertown in downtown Florence and you really just wanted to explain yourself and clear the air. Yeah, and so I agreed.
29:33 And if you want to switch over top golf it was when I had to share that while I grow up as a Christian and tried to lit.
29:43 Live the Exemplar Christian lot life during college free much do the failure of a job job at that and was at free local Point towards the break up towards the last breakup of
29:59 The summer and
30:02 Definitely saw something happening between between us, but I knew that I was not at the emotional point to actually be a good good enough man for you. And so you know or the traffic in my mind. I was trying to save you from another disastrous thing cuz I thought you were too good for that that so realizing that I was not.
30:25 Good enough and not good enough with the Lord Lord to be with you. I thought we at least there's enough time away and that Saturday was when we both kind of realize that while I had said never I really meant not yet and Zoe.
30:42 I guess you and I started hanging out again and around the same time. I started attending church regularly again for the first time of the college career and we are that entire fall semester just hung out tomorrow and Sam had this imaginary deadline of Christmas Christmas. I had thought in my head, you know, all this if I just was air quotes single until Christmas, I would feel like I had given myself enough time because before then that point I haven't been in one relationship after the other and I wanted this to be different so I wouldn't at least be able to say I've had my time in the Sun as it were.
31:32 But yet all we did was hang out together. So it wasn't actually being single is just called something different.
31:43 Kept asking you why you had this headline and eventually Holly asked you what the heck are you waiting on at this point? I got this was right after Thanksgiving. And so you decided to ask me on our first official day and we ended up cooking dinner together, which is something we enjoy doing just sticking together. We went and 2/3 mat for the math fellows as part of the Mad fellows program because we did birthday. So does a great day to remember I'm so that was December 8th of 2017, I guess and we weren't planning on getting married. I mean we had talked about it, but we weren't planning on it for a very long time. We had this idea of graduating college working for a year and then maybe talking about marriage but then
32:43 I guess about four months after we started dating. I was in a
32:50 Young women's Bible study with some of my college friends and we were setting the Book of Ruth and I just had this. Come over me that and said it out loud to my group of friends. Like what if what if God had something for us to do together that we can't do separated like basically can't do just a thing that we need to be married to do. I brought this up to Sam and
33:22 They was like you were like, yeah, I agree. Yeah, because the backstory what was you had done?
33:32 The Birmingham what was the cause collaborative breakthrough know you had done done at that time summer?
33:44 And then yeah, so we over the entire time. We were talking about getting engaged and ended up getting engaged October 27th, 2018 and ride around the time we got engaged is when I found out about the Memphis teacher residency through one of our professors, dr. Matthew Campbell, and I brought it up to Sam and we decided that maybe moving to Memphis. What's the thing that God had in store for us to do together. So we ended up boats and their viewing and applying and interviewing to MTR. Sam didn't get an offer, but I did which at that point. I thought this is not what it was supposed to be like Memphis is not where we're supposed to go, but you thought differently and really encouraged me to accept the position with MTR, but I ended up doing on Christmas Eve of last year.
34:42 And so accepted the position to empty. Are we at that point have their wedding date set for June 1st of 2019. And so yeah, we moved to Memphis by the week before we got married, May 26th and got married on June 1st, and I started MTR really had started the Thursday before our wedding and then we've been in Memphis ever since Sam has a job now at KIPP Collegiate Memphis High School school, so
35:31 That's our story so far on when you only see see where it goes from here.