Couple found love at Lisle High School's all-year reunion
To hear Amy Carpenter tell it, a connection to Lisle High School is only part of the story of how she and her husband, Bill, met and fell in love.
"I don't believe in kismet. I don't believe in fate. I believe in God," said Amy, who met Bill for the first time at the school's 2010 all-year reunion.
Three years later, they wed.
It was years before that the two narrowly missed each other, never once passing each other in the halls or even catching glimpses of each other at basketball games or pep rallies.
When Amy was a second-semester freshman, the Castleberry family -- Amy's family -- moved from their Lisle home to Wichita, Kansas.
Meanwhile, Bill's family was just arriving, taking up residence a few weeks after Amy's family's departure.
"We lived two buildings from each other in Lisle, in the Meadows (subdivision)," Amy said. "We both loved our years in the Meadows."
After another move, this time to Oklahoma, Amy, a year older than Bill, graduated in 1987 in Tulsa. Bill graduated in 1988 in Lisle.
In the post-high school years, social media and phone calls kept Amy in touch with old friends, including a friend named Darlene Gerke LaBuda, a Lisle classmate. By 2010, Darlene was living in New Jersey.
When the 2010 All-Year Lisle reunion was announced, the two women talked about it.
"I went because my friend Darlene said, 'Come on, let's go.' Darlene and I carpooled there," she said.
On reunion night, Darlene and Amy wandered from the lobby to the second floor, where mutual friend Suzy Hooper was chatting with Bill, who was still living in Lisle. Suzy had convinced Bill to attend the reunion.
"Suzy asked me to go two days prior. I said, 'Fine, I'll go. I'll see who I know in the class before me and after me,'" Bill said.
Bill and Amy felt an immediate affinity for each other. They eventually wandered back to the lobby.
"We were in the lobby until 3 or 4 a.m.," Bill said. "Everyone else disappeared."
"From the minute we met, there was chemistry right away," Amy said. "We knew that the 'higher up' was involved. I had never been married and I have no children, just my dogs. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Next week, the couple plans to travel from their Tulsa, Oklahoma, home to Lisle for the 2017 all-year reunion.
Bill, who has two children from a previous marriage, said he encourages alumni to attend.
"Why not? What have you got to lose?" he said.
"Go back and connect with people and have fun," Amy said. "You never know what's going to transpire."