A Calling community of friends who are like family, referring to all of our friends who provide the care and love of family
Ro-Z, Gail and Darryl

We just buried my ex-husband Darryl Mendelson. He had been battling leukemia for several months and finally succumbed on Thursday, August 24, 2023.

He had been a major player in some Columbus institutions, including Comfest, which he helped to create. Darryl, born Stephen Victor, was raised in Brooklyn with his brother Ro-z (Jeffery). I met them at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1969. Darryl, Ro-z, Stan Bobrof, Charlie Einhorn and Steve Terkel had embarked from Columbus and were living on the bus called Progress. They had been traveling to pop festivals around the country and had established an encamptment at the bottom of “Acid Alley” at Atlanta. There were two other buses: Candy Watkins’ little bus Pathfinder and Wonderbread, which looked just like a loaf of bread, with all the spots. Four adults and four kids lived on that bus!

My girlfriend and I had driven up from New Orleans, arriving three days early. We were hanging out at our tent on Acid Alley, when the hippest looking dude I’d ever seen, with lots of hair, invited us the visit the buses for food and libations. We did. And long story short, I got “on the bus” and never got off until it arrived back home in Columbus. Needless to say, I’m more grateful than I can say to be part of our tribe. I have my beautiful daughter, Nova and an extended family of friends, a “fremily” here.

As well as starting Comfest, Darryl also helped create Hot Times in Olde Towne in my neighborhood. Darryl and Stan had several businesses in Columbus over the years including Monkey’s Retreat, the first “head shop” in town. He mentored and nurtured many people over the years in his quiet, humble way. He will be greatly missed!

The subsequent funeral and celebration of life for Darrly reminded me that I don’t want to wait for another funeral to get together with beloveds and friends. We all tend to get so busy with our lives that we might take it for granted that those we love will always be there for us. I’m here to tell you that that is a fantasy.

In the last two years I’ve lost  my son-in-law and my best friend. They both died instantly from who knows what. My mom died of a cerebral aneurism at 35! You just never know. Bottom line, tell the people in your life that you love and appreciate them. Make an effort to create dates to get together and celebrate life. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make a list of the most important people in your life and reach out to them. Do it this week. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, as we know.

Like The Beatles said, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” So, put in the effort. I promise the reward will be worth it.