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Hot chocolate, blackmail and Brownie uniforms
SOUTH PARIS — Forty-year-old Shannon Moxcey has lived in the Oxford Hills area all her life. Finding herself a single mom, she went back to school to make a better life for herself and her daughters. Now she works to help those in the same situation.
She recently took time to tell us about her life.
Q: When were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born in Lewiston on Sept 4, 1970. I was born and raised, predominantly in West Paris.
Q: Did you have many siblings?
A: I have a sister named Darcy who is two years younger; my brother, Shawn is four years younger.
Darcy works in the cafeteria at Livermore Falls Elementary and she lives there too.
Shawn lives in Norway and he is carpenter. He is also a wrestling coach for OHHS.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: When I was very young, my parents both worked at Penley's clothespin mill in West Paris. Then they both tried different careers and eventually bought Margo's Fashions on Main Street in the 90's.
There was a fire at Margo’s that really disheartened them and they moved to Solon. They were semi-retired and now have moved back to Sumner and both have part time jobs.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: We grew up in a trailer for most of my childhood. It was on a rented piece of land. Later my parents bought some land in North Paris and moved the trailer there and expanded it.
We were lucky living in this area because we have a lot of family here and it's a close-knit community.
I was kind of a shy kid and my nose was always in a book.
I played together with my sister and brother and, where I was the oldest, I was a bully to them. As we got older, they both got taller than me, so the tables were turned.
I was in Brownies and we went to the North Paris Federated Church almost every Sunday.
My family used to like to go camping in Lexington. It's up by North Anson and North New Portland. We had a camper and different relatives would get together and groups would go. We would eat and swim and sometimes the boys would ride 4-wheelers.
I loved to ride bikes and climb trees and we had a creek across the road and we played in that a lot. We would take our dolls over there and make up stories with them and make forts and boats to push down the stream. It was fun to swim and splash around. The water was clear but cold; it wasn’t real deep but had pools where we could sit in the water.
I met my childhood friend Julie Paine (Reynolds now), and she and I were best friends in kindergarten and still are today. If I got in trouble it was usually something the two of us did together.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: When I was little I wanted to be an advertising executive like Darren on Bewitched.
As I got into high school, the concept of going to school seemed remote to me and unrealistic, so I knew that dream would never happen.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to Agnes Gray and then to the middle school and high school.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: I did get into mischief. Living in a small town, your parents hear about everything you do and so I almost always got caught.
I blackmailed my sister once. There was a swear word in a coloring book and I knew she did it. So whenever I wanted her to do something I would say do this or I’ll tell.
It got to the point that she would just do it.....she wouldn’t even argue. Looking back, I was quite mean. My poor sister finally broke and told our mother everything...and I got in trouble.
We joke about it today, but apparently it had more of an effect on her than I thought.
I don’t really think she ever forgave me.
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: I worked on the kitchen at the Ledgeview Nursing Home and also at the Trapp Store.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: Through a friend of a friend. We met at a party. It was just before high school graduation. He had already graduated and had recently moved to the area.
We dated after that and got married.
We have two daughters, Patience and Caroline. Patience is 18 and is at the University of Maine at Augusta and Caroline is a senior at Oxford Hills.
Q: Did you daughter have any teachers that you had?
A: Yes and I was so excited about that. They had Mr. Burke, Mr. Koch and also Mr. Litchfield. They all taught at Agnes and it meant so much to me knowing that they were at that small friendly school with teachers I trusted. It was a feeling of security for me.
Q: Did you ever go to college?
A: Yes, but later than usual. After going through a divorce, I had a few jobs and ended up unemployed. Back then in order to receive various social services I either had to work, go to school or do community service.
It seemed like a dream come true because that had never been a possibility for me; my low point ended up being something so positive in my life.
I went to school from ‘02 to ’06 and I got my BA in Mental Health and Human Services.
I eventually got my master's degree in Adult Education and now work at Western Maine University and Community College Center in South Paris.
I love my job. The most satisfying aspect is to help others that are in the same situation I was in. Education benefits people, not only by increasing income potential, but by improving their quality of life. When you learn about the world, you learn about yourself and I live to facilitate that growth in other people.
Q: What's it like being a single mom?
A: I have a lot of family and friends that have helped me along the way. And this community is so great. Just last week, my daughter went off the road on High Street and while she was waiting for a friend to pick her up, a nice older lady (to her) invited her into her house. She made my daughter some hot chocolate and they sat next to the Christmas tree and visited until her ride came.
The community has supported me through my tough times and now I can't wait to help give back to the community.
My ultimate goal is to get to help others like me in the community. It would be great to help people go to school or maybe start a non-profit to help children with finding Brownie uniforms or an instrument to play. What kid wants to be left behind, and what parent wants to tell them they can’t join in a sport or musical group?
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: No, very little. I haven't really had the opportunity yet, but hope to some day.
We did go on a college field trip to Philadelphia with some students through work.
I’ve been to New Hampshire and went to Atlantic City.
My parents said I was in Texas as a baby.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: I really enjoyed Atlantic City and the fun of the casinos.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: I was pretty much on my own. It wasn’t really a person, but the school that I attended for a better life for me and the girls.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: No. My job, being a student, and having two active daughters take up all of my time.
I have three cats as well that are part of the family, and I enjoy quiet time with them.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: I don’t have time to read things like fictional novels, but the last book I read was by Wally Lamb and it was called: She’s Come Undone.
It’s about a girl growing up in the 60’s and the life challenges she goes through and overcomes.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Yes, I very much enjoy learning about psychology and human behavior. I like to try to analyze people, figure them out and figure why they do what they do.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: My family, especially my two girls. They are very unique young women. I actually tend to be the anxious, tense one and they are always telling me to calm down. I marvel at how they recognize the signs.
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: When I was a kid, my family went on a camping trip to Bryant Pond. One day my dad took us out boating and we picked water lilies. One day it rained and we sat on the porch and played slap jack and had hot cocoa. Those were such special days.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: That I come across as shy, but as you get to know me, it won't take much to know all about me.
I really like my solitude, and my social needs are met through work and school.
My mom is a typical mom, who would love to see me married off! I just laugh.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and who with?
A: Most people probably feel they would want to fly here, or buy this or that. I would like to just have simple daily routines and being productive – well, other than housework, that is! Just spending time with my family or curled up reading a good book.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Dogs. I was bitten as a child, so until I get to know a dog, it's tough for me.
It's a tough loop, because a dog can sense that in me, making them more curious, and making me all the more scared.
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: I want to say B.F. Skinner. He is an author and a behavioral scientist. He has written a lot of books and I would love to be able to pick his brain.
I would also love to help him with his work, continuing it forward.