The Shannons: Local women find themselves in some humorous mix-ups, thanks to shared name

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

In 2002 Shannon Thayer was living in Portland when she got calls from two acquaintances asking why Thayer hadn’t told them she was opening a coffee shop in Sweet Home.

Thayer didn’t know what they were talking about.

It wasn’t until she and her husband moved to Sweet Home a short time later that she found out.

She met Shannon Thayer. Make that Shannon L. Thayer, owner and operator of Sunshine Espresso.

“We probably met a year after they arrived,” said Shannon L. Thayer, henceforth referred to in this report as “Sunshine Shannon.” “She had been coming through, I didn’t know her name and she didn’t know mine.”

“I knew there was a Shannon Thayer but I didn’t know it was her,” said Shannon M. Thayer, who works for the Oregon Jamboree and therefore will be designated here as “Jamboree Shannon.”

“It was through the drive-through that we met.”

While they aren’t particularly close friends, their lives have been intertwined by their common names, the two say.

“People constantly are calling our house and saying, ‘I know this is the wrong Shannon Thayer but do you have other Shannon Thayer’s number?'” Jamboree Shannon said. “People have wanted to give us the other’s kids.”

Sunshine Shannon said one of her friends offered to pick her children up at Vacation Bible School at a local church one summer and the VBS workers insisted she was picking up the wrong children. They wanted her to take the other Shannon Thayer’s children.

“Someone said, ‘Those aren’t Shannon Thayer’s kids,’ and my friend said ‘Yes, they are,'” Thayer said.

Both Shannons were born and raised in Portland.

Sunshine Shannon got to Sweet Home first, when she met Sweet Home native Dennis Thayer on a blind date (he’d driven from Corvallis, where he was living at the time, to meet her), and they got married 13 years ago, moving to Sweet Home. They have two girls, Sierra, 12, and Mariah, 9, who attend Oak Heights School.

Thayer, 42, took over Sunshine Espresso in 2002.

“My teachers would have guessed that I would have been in some kind of business where I would be talking all the time,” she said. “I was always in trouble in school for talking.”

Jamboree Shannon, 37, met her husband Justin when they both worked for Consolidated Freightways in Portland. They moved to Sweet Home seven years ago after Justin got laid off from his job and they had the opportunity to move onto some family property in the area. They have two children, daughter Cassidy, 8, and son Ryder, 5, both of whom attend Sweet Home Charter School.

After volunteering for the Oregon Jamboree, she started working as promotions coordinator in the festival office nearly two years ago.

It wasn’t too long after Jamboree Shannon got to Sweet Home that confusion began.

“We’re flagged at the video store, at the doctor’s office,” Sunshine Shannon said. “We have to show ID.”

“Then they say, ‘Do you know there’s another Shannon Thayer in town?'” Jamboree Shannon said.

“It’s good we’re both normal people because it’d be terrible if one of us was a meth addict,” Sunshine Shannon observed.

“I’ve been grateful about that,” Jamboree Shannon said, wryly.

One particularly amusing mix-up occurred when Jamboree got thyroid cancer test results that were meant for Sunshine Shannon.

“It scared me at first because I thought it was me,” Jamboree Shannon said. “I thought, ‘When did I go in and get checked for thyroid cancer?'”

Early on, Sunshine Shannon said, Jamboree Shannon was a free drink winner at her shop “and one of my employees called me and asked, ‘Is this a joke?’ Not everybody knew.”

Jamboree Shannon said that when she started working at the Oregon Jamboree, people thought Sunshine Shannon had gotten the job. They wondered if Sunshine Shannon was giving up the coffee kiosk, she said.

“I got your daycare bill the first time,” Jamboree Shannon said. “It was way lower than mine. I thought it was great.”

Sunshine Shannon’s daughter switched schools for a while a couple of years ago and an acquaintance put in a call to Jamboree Shannon to congratulate her on the move.

“It was one of those moments where you don’t want to be rude on the phone,” Jamboree Shannon said. “You don’t want to tell them. Finally, I had to say, ‘You know, who is this?'”

“I don’t think I’ve gotten any of your friends’ phone calls,” Sunshine Shannon noted.

“I don’t have any friends,” Jamboree Shannon cracked.

“It’s all funny, though,” Sunshine Shannon said of the mix-ups. “When it stops, it’ll be a bummer.”

“It’s gotten fewer and far in between,” Jamboree Shannon said.

They say people are starting to use their middle initials to help keep them straight.

Their main interaction, they say, has been an effort to form a local women’s Hood to Coast Relay team, which looks like it will be a go. The race starts at Mount Hood and the 12 women on the team will each run legs of five to eight miles all the way to the finish line on the beach at Seaside.

“You might see us running through town together,” said Sunshine Shannon, who said she played volleyball, basketball and softball at Madison High School. “You wouldn’t know it now, but I was an athlete in high school.”

“We’re not running,” said Jamboree Shannon, who played softball at Rex Putnam High School. “We’re more like dragging our bodies through town.”

“We’re training,” Sunshine Shannon clarified.

“So, who does your hair?” she asked, as the conversation took a sharp turn.

“Kellie Kem,” said Jamboree Shannon. “Who does yours?”

“Kellie Kem.”

“We’re actually going to look like sisters in a few years,” Jamboree Shannon chuckled. “Same hair highlights. Same trim.”