Tom & Peggy: A pair of painters who found friendship amid the Pandemic

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Tom Lant and Peggy Bischoff live just a few doors down from each other at Brookdale West Ashley.

Through some the darkest days of the Pandemic, the pair discovered that it’s never too late to do what you love.

Tom Lant & Peggy Bischoff

Lant has been battling Parkinson’s Disease for more than 2 decades. He says isolation became unbearable last spring.

 “I just sit and sit and sit. I had to find something to do,” says Lant.

He decided to take a trip down the hall and knock on Peggy Bischoff’s door.

“He said he wanted to learn how to paint flowers and I as just thrilled,” says Bischoff.

Bischoff was a flower show judge for years before she saved enough money to buy art supplies. She now has countless masterpieces of every type of flower; her favorite to paint is the poppy.

“The first thing is, you really have to want to do this,” she says. “The second thing is, you have to draw and draw and play and play because that’s how you learn.”

For years, Lant believed the tremors caused by his Parkinson’s would keep him from becoming an artist. With extreme determination, he began taking lessons from Bischoff to learn the basics.

“I didn’t think I could draw a straight line,” says Lant.

Within a few weeks, Lant was painting with watercolors almost daily. He says that sometimes has to use one hand and physically hold his eyes open because of the Parkinson’s.

“Peggy is an awesome teacher. She gives me strength,” says Lant.

With Bischoff’s encouragement, Lant’s confidence has continued to grow over the last year. His collection of masterpieces now reflects his creative mind: abstracts, animals and even abstracts of animals.

He now has a few of his paintings hanging in his room, but right by his easel is a “Peggy Original.”

Down the hall, Bischoff has a few of her star pupil’s masterpieces on display. She says it’s been a joy to watch Lant learn, but he has actually taught her more than she could ever imagine.

“Did y’all see that cute little monkey up there? He did that!” she says.

Tom and Peggy continue to paint every week. Their friendship serves as a reminder that some doors are just waiting to be knocked on.

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