My Name Was Mushroom


My Name Was Mushroom

My Life as a Teenage Runaway in The Source Family Commune

Authors & Illustrator




Third Place Book Award

Third Place Award

Nonfiction > Memoirs - Personal


At age 14, Wendy Gossard was drawn by the tranquil blue eyes and personal magnetism of a man known as Yahowah, leader of a spiritual group called the Source Family. Fleeing her own family and becoming a fugitive from justice in the state of California, Wendy followed the 1970s cult group across settlements in California and Hawaii on a quest for spiritual direction, communal harmony, and basic survival. Growing up, the teenager, called Mushroom by Yahowah, had questions about her pregnancy, relationships, and place in the universe—and about the boy who started her on her quest, the blond-haired son of the spiritual leader. In this memoir, the author takes the reader on a journey through the 1960s and ’70s, with love-ins in Hollywood and on Sunset Blvd., hippie communal living, and survival in wilderness environments. It’s also a coming-of-age story about discerning universal wisdom and personal truth.