Goodbye Pat and Goodbye 2015

Weeping Quote

I have never been so relieved to have a year come to an end!  For the most part it was a good year but the end was one of the roughest times of my life.  The whole month of December was kind of awful for a myriad of reasons but the toughest moment came the day after Christmas when our good, family friend Pat passed away.

My family moved in with Pat who was around fifty at the time, when I was a little girl.  We had just moved back from California and had no money, no prospects and no where to live.  Pat was at that moment, and for the rest of his life, our guardian angel.  He was unfailing kind and generous, sweet and playful.  He was the best of friends and the best of people.  He lived with my family for the rest of his life and died in his own bed at my parents house.

He was what some might consider an unremarkable man who lived a remarkable life, filled with tragedy and loss and ultimately redemption and love.

The thing that was so very remarkable about Pat once you got to know him  was how happy he was with so little.  In our modern view, the gifts that life gave him were so pitifully few, he was never in love (the one date he ever went on ended with getting kicked out of his house for dating) he never had children or a high powered career, he wasn’t famous, he didn’t change the world.  And yet in all the time I knew him he never shed a tear (he said he had cried all his tears when his mother died), he never complained about the life he was given, he never forgot to say thank you for even the smallest gesture of thoughtfulness.

I’m not really sure if understanding the life he lived makes his unfailing contentment more or less amazing.  He lost his mother at age seven and was sent to an orphanage with his brother.  A couple of years later he lost his father as well.  He continued in the orphanage until he was adopted by some cousins but even that  was shortlived and he time and again ended up homeless on the streets of Detroit.  He though about becoming a priest but was disillusioned by the hypocrisy he witnessed while working around the order.  He went into the army and was one day away from shipping out to Vietnam when he contracted double pneumonia and was eventually given an honorable disability discharge.  He had a mental breakdown a few years after he left the army and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent some time in an institution.  He moved to Colorado and ended up buying a house for his beloved poodle Blackie.  That was the only reason that he bought the house because he wanted his dog to have a home and a yard and so he provided them.   Some time later he started going to the church my father worked for and that was how we met him.  When we moved back from California, homeless and desperate, we found out that his dog had died and he was terribly lonely and heartsick over his dog’s passing.  The pastor of the church thought it might be a blessing for him to have some companionship and it was undoubtedly a blessing for us as well.  From that day on he was a part of our family.

Time and again life gave him obstacles and problems that he saw for what they really were, gifts.  The pneumonia that wrecked his lungs and was the foundation for a life time of lung problems wasn’t a curse it was the blessing that saved him from the horrors of war.  The death of his beloved pet was the reason our family came to stay and he finally got the love and friendship and the home that he had never had.  It didn’t make him bitter that life had been so hard because he knew the worst that could happen, he’d lived through it, and the qualities of character and personality that caused him again and again to seek a life of service and a purpose in helping others, helped him to remain happy and positive and unfailingly grateful.

There have been so many lessons I’ve learned from Pat in our life together but his last lesson and gift to me (and one that I needed more than ever as I dealt with the loss of him) was that this too shall pass.  Pat lived a life blighted by pain and suffering for the first two thirds of his time on earth but the last third, though it maybe didn’t make up for or remove those lost years, did give him something he’d always wanted, a home, a family and unconditional love.  I imagine it would be all but impossible for me to experience the amount of loss and devastation  in my life that Pat suffered but even if it did, the memory of how he dealt with that loss and the knowledge that it did eventually get better will stay with me through anything.

So goodbye Pat, I loved you and I will always miss you.

Lincoln Quote

 

Lollipop’s Story

Hello and welcome to the Funky Lollipop blog! I am one of the two founders of The Funky Lollipop brand. My real world name is Megan Irwin Harlan, but around here I go by Lollipop because I’m sweet, just a little twisted, and grew up obsessed with Shirley Temple and loved the song “On the Good Ship Lollipop”. In fact, I think exploring my love of Shirley is the perfect way to introduce myself!

My childhood inspiration.

My childhood inspiration.

For those of you that don’t know, Shirley Temple was a child star in the 30’s and 40’s and represented childlike joy and optimism during the Great Depression when those qualities were in short supply. Shirley inspired me as a child because she remained positive in the face of difficulties and she could make anyone happy. I wanted to be just like her and really, I still do. I love to laugh and cheer people up and make the world a more beautiful place. It seems to me that these days people don’t take you seriously and don’t really value your opinions if your viewpoint is cheerful and upbeat. I know when I was in high school I decried the cheerleaders as shallow and vapid for nothing more than being perky. But with age (hopefully) comes wisdom, and I now believe it is a mark of strength to retain a good attitude when times are tough. As Martha Washington said, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”

Shirley also represents my love of the past and my vintage style. One of the most exciting things for me about the age we live in now is the ability to access information in a way unprecedented in human history. No longer are we subject to the styles, fashions and opinions of our time because we can learn and see how other people lived and looked throughout recorded history, collect those elements that inspire or represent us, and come up with something entirely new. On any given day I might be wearing a dress that looks like it comes from the fifties, a forties hairstyle, art nouveau inspired jewelry, and little sixties style flats. This eclectic and retro-inspired style is definitely reflected in the products I make and also allows me to continually find new things to love and be inspired by.

Which brings me to another Shirley quality I aspire to.  Once her film career had ended she used the goodwill and celebrity she had garnered as a child star to become an ambassador. This ability to use elements from her past to redefine herself in a creative and meaningful way is truly extraordinary. The thing that makes Funky Lollipop so perfect for me is that it allows me to do the same. Throughout my formative years I’ve spent countless hours trying my hand at a variety of arts and crafts and although I’ve always claimed to have more determination than talent, that determination has led me to incorporate crafting into almost every job I’ve had, including my current one. I’m also at a point in my life where I’ve decided that if I am ever going to be that girl I dreamed of being when I grew up, now’s the time. That attitude adjustment has led me to make some meaningful changes in my own life. I’ve finally quit smoking, I’ve started eating right and working out five days a week, and the biggest change of all is that I’ve stopped saying “no” or “not right now” to life. I’m co-founding a company, of which this blog is a part, and I’m trying tons of new things from hula dancing to starting an all-girl singing group. I hope you’ll come along with me as I take on these new adventures.

The last and perhaps most important aspect of Shirley I identify with is how she always seemed to be taking care of the people around her. From going to Abraham Lincoln to get her father released from prison in “The Littlest Rebel,” to bringing joy to the life of her grandfather and helping her friend walk in “Heidi,” Shirley’s characters were deeply committed to helping those she loved, and that is really what all of this is about. The Funky Lollipop brand, encompassing both the blog and the store, is all about putting something beautiful and interesting out into the world and in return having the freedom to care for my family and friends on my own terms. To have the liberty to go and care for them wherever and whenever I’m needed. At this moment I feel so excited and blessed to be able to go on this journey, and I hope you will all check in from time to time and see how it’s going. I promise you’ll have fun if you do!

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Funky’s Story

Hey y’all! My name is Rachel Campbell, and I definitely put the Funky in Funky Lollipop. I like to describe myself as a walking contradiction; the epitome of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” With deceptively comfy clothes, plenty of animal prints (mainly on my eyelids), and a dash of skeletal paraphernalia, I would definitely say I have a unique style. To give you a pretty clear idea of what exactly that style is, I will highlight two key points.
First, I received the ‘Rainbow Bright Award’ in high school based on my extensive array of ever-changing hair colors and vast slipper collection. I wore slippers so often, that one teacher actually wrote on the calendar the day I wore shoes. The thing that started the slippers was my dislike of shoes. However, as my assistant principal so kindly pointed out, it isn’t safe to go around a public place in just socks, no matter how incredibly adorable they may be. So I started wearing slippers….and oh what a collection I had! As for my hair, well, my father and I took the Harley all the way to California, and a shopping trip sans my father and grandmother, brought home a bottle of both green and purple temporary hair color. A secretive bathroom visit later, I made my grandmother laugh riotously and received the infamous words from Dad, “Well, wait until your mother sees!” Awesomely enough, upon my return home, seeing me with half purple and half green hair and three more piercings in my ears, my mother simply said, “You can dye your hair any color you want, and pierce your ears as many times as you want, but NO TATTOOS, or other body piercings!” Oh, Mom. Way to stifle the rebel by allowing the only things I had the guts to do! However, even though I looked really cool and weird, I was still an extremely good student, even going so far as to be rewarded with a mention in Who’s Who of America, for my high grades. I am a cool nerd. I love to read, but my favorite genres are horror and paranormal romance. The TV show I geek out about is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I love the Backstreet Boys, but you will most likely see me at a rock concert. I even contradict myself, and I love it. In fact, having a strong opinion about any one thing in particular is something I avoid, because I am a sucker for peer pressure and good old fashioned clear logic.

My childhood inspiration.

My childhood inspiration.

The second indication to the type of flavor I deliver is the fact that my favorite woman, for as long as I can remember, is Elvira—Mistress of the Dark. Some may not remember her, and those who do may be appalled by the fact that I have loved her since childhood, but I would certainly suggest owning at least the self-titled movie. If you don’t know her, she is the original goth (in my opinion), dressed in a low-cut black dress that fits like a glove, a giant dark beehive atop her head, and the most killer makeup that I have yet to perfect. Her 1959 Ford Thunderbird convertible—dubbed the Macabre Mobile—boasts leopard print interior, the grim reaper as a hood ornament, a spider web grill, and a whole host of various skeletal adornment. Elvira is a sexy beast obsessed with the macabre, but the best thing about her is she’s funny! Her real name is Cassandra Peterson, and Elvira is a character of her own invention. She put her name on the map being the corny horror hostess of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, with classics like “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and “The Head with Two Things, I mean The Thing with Two Heads.” She has been my fashion and style icon since at least 1988, when the movie came out, and I just add my own flair through my use of color, texture, and keeping things cute in order to appeal to the masses. That being said, I care not what the masses think about my personal style, but I would love to change their opinion!
So, in a nutshell, I am a bright and colorful gal who adorns herself with the macabre. I have been told I “look like a badass”, but I turn out to be one of the most caring people they have ever met. I work very hard taking care of the people I love, and I would be sincerely happy if I could devote myself to them with a successful business from home. So please, check out our blog, and see if my mind appeals to you, along with my style!

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