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New Tales from

Stewart Springs

Small collection of stories and remembrances on Springs first published here.

See also Old Tales from Stewart Older Newspaper Articles for previously published/posted stories. Also classic Emilie Frank 4-part article.


~ Remembering Greg Goodpasture's Springs Kitchen, by Sandy Serva

~ Miracle During Card Reading, by Joa Janakoayas

~ Employees' Famous Last Words, by Stuart Ward


Remembering Greg

& His Springs Kitchen

Sandy Serva

Sandy Serva, nee Goodpasture, was part of legendary family operation that stewarded Springs through happening 1970s. Here she remembers late older brother Greg and grounds restaurant operation. Rebellious teen then, she now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

My best memory of Stewart Mineral is my brother's restaurant: Springs Kitchen.

When we first moved north, he cooked for the dorm students at College of the Siskiyous. There he learned to cook en masse, and like most things he put his mind to, he learned quickly and did it well. He would go on to get a pilot’s license, become a master scuba diver and more. He was a jokester and a prankster. He was happily married and died all too young of cancer.

When we opened Springs Kitchen he was a natural. He and a couple of buds from down south worked the kitchen masterfully. The biggest luxury item on the menu was the Goodie Burger, a wonderful display of excess and balancing, most likely about 6 inches tall. It was a legacy item handed down from my grandfather, who had once owned a restaurant, The Lazy Man’s Roost. The Goodie burger was a signature item.

Second in line in were the malts, nabbed from our experiences at Fosselman’s in my hometown of South Pasadena, Ca. You’d get a glass and the malt can. Oh, excess. Greg made a chocolate syrup from scratch – it was more like fudge than anything else, but was ooey-gooey delicious.

Of course, there were plenty of healthy items on the menu – including a lemonade and cayenne pepper freeze for those who were on the lemon fast. On certain weekends, Greg would do a couple of dinner specials and people would drive from miles around to take mineral baths and eat stuff like veggie tempura or enchiladas. I was amazed at the crowd. It was uncanny. But back then, the best fare around were pizza parlors and truck stops. My brother’s joint was an oasis in a barren culinary desert.

I never held glamorous jobs at the Springs, and maybe that’s why I don’t have extremely fond memories of the bathhouse and the healing waters. I’d been a maid and a bathhouse attendant.

The latter involved endless loads of laundry, a chore I hate to this day. No, that wasn’t the fun stuff. The restaurant was where the action was, watching Greg and the two Marks (Derby and Wright) work the kitchen, young and full of life and endless bad jokes. They were rock stars in a way. Girls came to flirt with them, guys bonded with them over delicious food.

Eventually, my bad teenage attitude became my undoing. My mom fired me one summer when I was home from college (NYU), so I went to work at the second Springs Kitchen location in Mount Shasta. [Building is currently Lalo's - Ed.] My dad hired me. I made plenty of tips and fell in love with one of the managers. We wore denim skirts and checkered shirts and kerchiefs around our necks. Very hippy-dippy western. Whatever. Yes, those were good times.

I never was close to Greg, because he wouldn’t really allow it. But we loved each other in the way that siblings do.

The last time I saw him was in Santa Rosa, Ca. He had terminal cancer. He picked me up and we looked at each other. And that look erased the need for or regrets. It said we loved each other. That we’d been through a lot. And I felt this glorious peace.

He died soon after. I won’t say his life was easy. No, it wasn’t. But he was a smart, capable man, with a loving wife Melanie who stood by his side and is truly an angel on earth.


Miracle at Card Reading

Joa Janakoayas

Spiritual card reader Joa felt pulled away from Shasta region after 2002 and pulled back in summer 2011. He was amazed by change in Springs energy. Things felt lighter. Perhaps in part because of medicine man Charlie Thom‘s ceremonial exorcism of slain ancestral warrior spirits many believed haunted grounds. see Ted's story He penned following in the moment between readings at his table on inner sundeck (before management decided finally such service was not appreciated by more conventional-minded visitors). 

From 1997 to 2002 I was Stewart’s tarot card reader. Giving spiritual readings to vacationers was rewarding dream occupation. Most people, whether they knew it consciously or not, came to Mt. Shasta to come home to their higher self, were having peak experiences they did not understand. I got to hear about various miracles associated with these peak experiences.

One miracle happened right here on the deck while I was giving a reading. On that hot, dry August day, a lady who had just visited the mountain was feeling disoriented and tearful. As I connected with her higher self the general message that came through was, These are the tears of Christ...of coming home to your divinity, your oneness with everything." After the reading was complete, the lady asked me what this water dripping on her leg was about; a puddle of water had appeared on the table and was dripping off the side onto my client's leg. 

We looked around for where that water was coming from. There was no explanation. The lady didn’t seem to be taking the reading very seriously as she, like many, learned to judge her emotionalism as just a form of neurosis. I asked within who it was that materialized the water and heard: Mother Mary. It seems she desired her to value her feelings that her visit to Mt. Shasta had triggered.

I have noticed how in the cities many people get caught on the treadmill of doing and learn to ignore the feelings of their being. Then when they come to a heart-expanding vortex such as Mt. Shasta and unwind with the medicinal water of Stewart Mineral springs, it is not uncommon that the bottom drops out - whatever resistance they were carrying to feeling everything.

I know all too well how to get caught up in my little 3-D world of apparent problems. Most of my problems have had an underlying

emotional current based on the illusion I'm not loved and supported by the universe. When I come here I often have my tears of coming home to the reality that I am loved and supported far beyond my mind’s usual knowing, and these are joyous tears.


nameless here forevermore

Famous Last Words of

Employees and Managers

by Stuart Ward

Springs volunteer groundskeeper and assistant manager 2000-2002; creek plungekeeper 1999 - 2014

"Most employees who came and went over the decades under four different managements appeared reasonably earnest and dedicated to appointed duties, even if only working at shekel over minimum wage. 

"Exceptions were a hoot -- even some managers. In fairness, some, writer included, messed up only as sometimes squirrelly owner directives, bickering internal politics, and/or job burnout finally took their toll.

"But others appeared misplaced all along."

"They can't actually expect anyone to

take this job seriously at these wages, can they?"

-- friend of manager Mary H.'s shortly before being relieved of two-day career as bathhouse attendant.

"Prepare to reap the whirlwind!"

-- Stage-worthy warning issued by ground restaurant's chef as he strode by on bathhouse deck. Involved in long crazy cold war with management, he was getting even after finally having contract cancelled and bought out: he'd just reported laundry list of fire code violations to fire marshal that would have staff hopping to avoid draconian daily fines if failing to get back into compliance post haste.

"The most important key to know is this one."

-- 2005 front desk manager pointing out 'No Sale' key, explaining how to work register as part of inter-job-duty orienting. He was later caught pocketing restaurant receipts and did three years in state prison. I think I figured out his fondness for that key: It enabled putting exact-cash payments in and then lifting them out later when the coast was clear without messing up receipt tally -- easy to track then, as baths were even $20, saunas $10. 

"I'll be there soon, okay? Dry cycle's almost done."

-- Office worker spacing out in laundry room on slow day, watching personal laundry tumble in dryer. Writer and movie producer James Twymann, then an occasional visitor, was waiting patiently in empty office to pay for selected gift shop items, money in hand.

 "I wouldn't like that; I'd be out of a job."

-- Manager after writer enthused about brainstorm heard of long-ago: Friends of Stewart Springs group sussing idea on public TV to collectively purchase and operate springs as cooperative, thinking anyone who really loved place would at least find this intriguing. Clearly unmoved by such Utopian fantasies -- and apparently feeling tenure threatened by even broaching subject -- defiant icy stare accompanied verdict.


-- Death rock music blaring out of grounds restaurant stereo ahead of opening doors, shaking rafters, before chef, inveterate death rock fan, switched, more relaxing music. One might've thought something was less than copacetic if happening to walk by ostensible healing resort's eatery just then.

"If the sheriff comes by here you didn't see me."

--2001 nighttime bathhouse attendant at my cabin door. Normally sweet-natured, she could turn poison-mean when crossed. She'd just told off apparently over-demanding soaker so royally, woman -- either scared and/or outraged that a lowly paid worker would dare give her such lip and dagger stares -- called the sheriff.

" ........ "

-- Deck juice-bar man taking break by sitting on bench by cold plunge, dragging on cigarette while boldly starring at nude coldplungers a few yards away like he was in a porn theater. Also, perhaps thinking to entertain, he threw stick in water for his dog to jump in and retrieve, splashing incredulous bathers. 

"I'll take care of it first thing tomorrow."

-- Dismissive groundskeeper, wanting to keep schmoozing with manager in private office despite being alerted that the sauna's wood stove's flue cap screen spark-arrestor was so caked with creosote that smoke had serious trouble escaping, resulting in smothering fire and dangerously smoking up sauna room. Visitors were coughing, eyes stinging, and there were hours of operation left in the day. Manager, out to lunch (and slowly dying), didn't seem at all concerned either. It was an easy ten-minute fix.

“We're a mineral springs, not a hot springs.”

-- Manager (and various office workers, following lead), ostensibly thinking to explain to newcomers how place was different from other springs resorts. Say what? Obviously the two are not mutually exclusive: a mineral springs' waters can be cold or hot and hot springs' waters can be fresh or mineral. The statement was essentially meaningless. Though maybe said to try distinguishing place from wider region's hot springs resorts for having limited heated mineral water and private soaking tubs, rather than communal geothermal pools, often clothing-optional, it mostly served only to bewilder, especially when said in authoritarian tone. 

"I mean, it was only six thousand dollars, but still..."

-- Another manager, from affluent background, downplaying significance of amount of cash stolen from office safe sometime during closed hours. (Thief was  never caught.) 

"If people are stupid enough to trip over it,

they get what they deserve."

-- yet another manager, clearly having  a day, to suggestion of putting warning tape down on step up to sauna wing where people not seeing it would often stumble, sometimes even fall.

"I don't work here anymore."

-- Still another manager, implying having stepped down, ostensibly hoping to placate writer, as we'd seldom gotten along. But it was spoken with wily intent: she perhaps no longer worked AT Springs, but would still serve as general manager by remote from distant home for two more years. She'd relay strict marching orders from even more distant 'owners' to rubber-stamping staff actually holding down the fort.

"You're telling people they can actually drink that stuff?"

-- and still another manager, overhearing writer doing stint as bathhouse attendant and telling bathers drinking the water was beneficial as well as soaking in it if they could get past the mild sulfur taste.


Short by visitor

" I lived here 38 years ago. I delivered a baby here and got married here at the Springs." 

 (attribution deleted due to program glitch; apologies)