Then on league nights, Carl would visit Barbara's lane to see how she was doing. Sometimes he'd speak like Elmo or Elvis, cracking her up.
One night in March 2011, Carl didn't show. He wasn't there the next week, either. "I got the nerve to go down to his team to ask for him," Barbara said. She learned he was at a bowling tournament, and something else: "Wow, I must really like this guy."
When Carl, now 49, returned, Barbara, now 45, asked about the tourney. "Did you win?"
"I never win," he said. "But I had a good time."
Then they really talked. "The conversation got to how I didn't know my parents, and she said, 'I didn't, either.'"
Both had grown up in foster care. Barbara doesn't know anything about her life before age 1, when she went to live with her foster parents, Edith and Thomas, in North Philadelphia. Decades older than her peers' parents, they were very strict, but also loving. "I didn't know I was a foster child until third grade," when a classmate carrying the attendance roll to the office read it on the roster, and told her.
"They raised me very well. I was the first one in the household to have gone to college," said Barbara, who was also encouraged by a teacher, Miss Palio. Her master's degree in education is from Chestnut Hill College, and she analyzes child care centers for the Keystone STARS program.
Carl, a certified nursing assistant at Devereux Whitlock Center in Berwyn, works with people who have physical and mental disabilities.
His childhood was not as stable as Barbara's. Carl lived in group homes and foster homes in this area and near Scranton. He was beaten up, doused with ice water while trying to sleep, and teased because his birth parents never visited.
"I never had any friends growing up. Cartoons were my friends," Carl said. That's how he taught himself to do impressions.
Carl found his birth father, and lived with him for a time, during high school. The people and place that felt most like home were Mr. and Mrs. Coe in Roxborough. His foster father is still part of Carl's life.
Carl asked Barbara if they could talk somewhere other than the bowling alley.
What evolved into their first date lasted four hours.
They talked for hours on the phone. "It's so weird," said Barbara. "I'm not a talker."
They walked around his neighborhood in Frankford, or hers in the Northeast, near Cheltenham. They went out to eat. And of course, they bowled.
Barbara fell hard when Carl began attending services at Bethel Church at Franklin Mills with her on Saturdays - even though he went to Crossroads Grace Brethren on Sundays.
He'd been married twice before, but, "I never really felt like this about anybody," Carl said. "Every time I would see her, my legs would shake."
How does forever sound?
Boulevard Lanes closed, and he joined her league at Erie Lanes.
The public-address system crackled to life one September night in 2011: "Barbara Bredell, please come to the front desk."
Thinking she had won something in the previous week's raffle, Barbara excitedly headed in that direction.
Carl was waiting, microphone in hand. "I would like to make an announcement, please," he said, dropping to one knee. "Barbara, would you like to marry me?"
Everyone in the 40-some lanes gasped at once. Not a pin dropped as they waited for her response.
"Yes!" she said.
"I started crying," said Carl.
"I was shaking," said Barbara. "I just thought I was in a dream."
Neither bowled well that night.
It was so them
Barbara and Carl worked together - and worked overtime - to plan and pay for a wedding and reception for 100 that cost less than $10,000.
"A lot of men are like, 'Whatever you want, let me know and I'll meet you at the altar,' but he picked the colors, he chose the cake," she said.
Their theme song: "I Found Love" by BeBe and CeCe Winans. "His marriages did not work well, and I've . . . had boyfriends, but I didn't really find love until I found Carl."
The day before the wedding, Barbara met her birth mother, Mary, for the first time. Mary flew in from Detroit to attend. Barbara's foster parents died years ago. Her foster sister Suzette walked her down the aisle.
By the time Suzette lifted Barbara's veil, both she and Carl were crying.
"Does somebody have a tissue?" Carl asked. His niece, Rosie, brought some up to the altar.
The couple had originally planned to marry in 2012, but after Carl's sister Gloria and her children Anthony and Crystal, died in a fire that January, they postponed to grieve.
At the reception, Carl danced for his sister, niece and nephew to music they loved - Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." He took Jackson's famous stance, rolled his hat down his arm, and then began. A minute or so in, Carl brought his new wife to the floor, and then the bridal party joined them.
"He got a standing O," Barbara reports.
The couple wrote their own vows.
"I was kind of choked up," Carl said. "I was thinking, 'I can't believe it, I'm marrying this beautiful woman.' I told her that I'm going to respect her, that I cherish her, and that I will always love her."
Barbara, a poet, wrote her vows in verse. "When I said it to him at the altar, wow. I knew this man is for me." Barbara told Carl he's her best friend for life, and she promised to honor and cherish him.
A bargain: Barbara got her $1,500 dress for $500. It was a sample.
The splurge: Barbara's friend's son was going to take her to the church, but Carl sent a limo instead. "I wanted to give her the best."
A weeklong cruise in the Bahamas.