Harvey and Irma Schluter have been a force for good since they first met in the 1940s.
The couple, sourced by the New York Times on Thursday, September 7, have generated buzz amid the ongoing spotlight on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Long before the natural disasters developed, Harvey was visiting his brother in Spokane, Washington, while Irma happened to be staying with her sister for school. Harvey was instantly smitten, Irma was a bit more hesitant about pursuing a relationship.
“I wasn’t quite through school yet,” she told the paper. “I wanted to wait until I was done. But he talked me into getting married before that.” The pair exchanged vows in 1942.
Their life became one of giving and love; when Harvey went to work as a barber after moving back to Washington from Maryland, his wife felt the urge to fill their home with love and laughter. They became foster parents, often to children with physical or mental disabilities, and over the course of their lifetime, they fostered as many as 120 children.
When news broke in recent weeks that two hurricanes were set to hit the continental United States one after the other, and that their names were Harvey and Irma, the two were astounded.
Harvey is 104. Irma is 92. They’ve been married 75 years. They’ve only ever seen a hurricane on TV. https://t.co/aLxvCzAEDl
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 7, 2017
“I don’t know how they’ve done that, to have a Harvey and Irma,” Irma said. “I don’t know how that worked out.”
According to the Times, the combination is an unusual one: the World Meteorological Organization has alternated between men’s and women’s names for tropical storms since 1979, with six master lists of names that experts rotate through. (Names are only retired if the hurricane has caused significant damage; case in point, Hurricane Irene.)
Given how severe the damage has been from Harvey thus far, then, there is a good chance that the name will be retired.
“I have no idea what I’d do; I’ve never been in that kind of a situation,” Irma told the Times. “I’d try and help some people, I don’t know how.”