• Last modified 2168 days ago (July 19, 2018)


Spreading the fragrance of pleasure

Staff writer

Lea Schwart takes her pleasure giving pleasure to others — particularly those who get little pleasure elsewhere.

Schwart, who lives on Nighthawk Rd. almost equally distant from Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody, buys marked-down flowers from florists in Wichita, arranges them, and delivers them to people she does, and doesn’t, know in nursing homes, assisted-living centers, and senior centers.

She also takes them to nurses and staff at hospital emergency rooms.

Hillsboro Senior Center, Marion Assisted Living, Parkside Homes, Salem Home, and St. Luke Living Center are places she takes flowers as often as she can.

Those deliveries are not the end of the road for the flowers. Widowers place them on the graves of their wives, and husbands whose wives are in nursing homes take flowers to them as well.

Schwart also delivers flowers to people she hears of who are sick or homebound, like a woman who recently suffered a stroke and is now recovering at home, and to her 97-year-old aunt living in Newton.

“I have a lot of fun and enjoy seeing the people’s faces,” Schwart said.

She arranges the flowers the day before delivery, and sometimes puts a day and a half into making arrangements, depending on how many flowers she has to work with.

“We live in the country,” Schwart said. “I do them in the evenings.”

Schwart said health issues, both hers and her husband’s, had slowed down her happy hobby.

“I’ve had some health issues in the past year and don’t do it as much as I used to,” Schwart said.

She got started packing flowers around seven years ago when a friend, Esther Pankratz, moved to Parkside Homes. Schwart thought some of the other Parkside residents could use one of her special deliveries.

“Some of them I thought were lonely and needed something,” she said.

One day, Schwart asked her friend how many women lived on her floor at Parkside.

“There were 10 of them,” Schwart said.

It’s not always possible to get enough flowers to give to everyone she wants, but it’s possible to make bouquets for dining tables, desks, and counters where people gather.

“One of the nurses at Parkside told me, ‘You do such a wonderful ministry,’” Schwart said.

Brenda Moss, director of Hillsboro Senior Center, said everyone was appreciative of the flower deliveries.

“We love it,” Moss said. “All the people love having the flowers on the table.”

Although Schwart has plenty of vases, she wishes for rectangular vases to replace those broken in a car wreck last year. Those vases were used to grace dining area counters.

Last modified July 19, 2018