As the old saying goes, love knows no boundaries.
It's that adage that brought together a Lawrence native and one of Kansas University's well-known characters.
Julia Lee, 22, a 2004 Lawrence High School graduate, and the man popularly known as White Owl met in early May, after he spoke to her American Studies class.
Lee thanked White Owl, 61, who also is known as Jimmy Neil Tucker or Saul Tucker, for speaking to the class, then never expected to talk to him again. But they saw each other the next day, and their friendship blossomed. And soon, it turned into love.
Lee recalled a phone conversation that she had with a friend just a week after meeting Owl: "At the risk of sounding insane, I think I'm supposed to marry this guy or something."
By June 2, they were engaged.
White Owl, known for talking with students outside KU's Wescoe Hall and for his boisterous support of KU athletics, may seem an unlikely fit for Lee, given their 39-year age difference. But he insists they share a spiritual connection, especially because they had set the same dreams as children.
"All our dreams are answered in each other. All our secrets of the heart, right from the start, have been answered in each other," he said.
It doesn't surprise the couple that their engagement might be raising eyebrows.
"It's hard to explain to (others) the minute-by-minute conversations (we have) in six to eight hours a day," said White Owl, who has been married twice before. "You can't explain it all."
Lee added, "It just doesn't seem normal at all, so of course they can't understand why."
But that's not deterring the young painting major and her fiance, who has a penchant for tie-dyed shirts and socks. They've set a wedding date for July 27 at the Loose Park Rose Garden in Kansas City, Mo., where Lee hopes to wear her mother's wedding dress. Anyone and everyone is invited, White Owl said.
White Owl is careful to note that he did not set out looking for romance, just friendship.
"I was never going to push her into anything," he said. "Every step of the way we have been friends."
And the honeymoon?
"Our honeymoon is continuous," he said. "We pinch ourselves every day because we are in the presence of each other."