***Christine has asked not to be photographed for this interview. Without sharing specifics of Christine’s past that she did not want to be made public, the reader should know that Christine has three children who do not live with her at her apartment; she has PTSD that required our interview be conducted in a common area instead of her apartment. “I know you’re probably a nice guy,” she says to me at the start of the interview, “I just feel more relaxed in an open space.”***
When Christine Moss moved into her Prescott Heights apartment on February 1st of 2012, her world transformed. “I was living in Alfred in a mobile home with no heat. In the winter that meant no water because the pipes would freeze. I picked up knitting just so I could keep my hands occupied to keep them warm. I remember praying for the night to come so I could just sleep.” Christine lived in a world without being able to turn on a light, turn up the heat, or run a warm bath to take just a momentary pause from the oppressive Maine winter in late 2010 early 2011, which was miserably cold and buried in snowfall after snowfall. Sometimes she didn’t even know if she would have food to eat. It’s difficult to even conceive of. These small luxuries which are now so commonplace and essential were gone.
Before Alfred she lived in New Hampshire, and at one point lived in the Women’s Shelter in Portsmouth, NH which is inhabited mostly by women who are victims of abuse. Avesta’s records show her as being on a waiting list since 2008, nearly 4 years before placement, bouncing from residence to residence throughout southern Maine and New Hampshire. “Through it all I put my faith in Yahweh, who I believe to be the creator. My faith has helped me through the worst times, and has helped me to appreciate the good,” Christine reflects.
“Christine’s name stayed on our list a long time, and it started to rise further and further to the top,” says Kathy Moon who works for Avesta. “I kept noticing it and there were a few properties where she was very close. Finally the day came and I called her right away to ask her if she would want to look at an apartment in Prescott Heights.” This was in the winter of
2012, just a few months ago. Christine came to visit the giant, pink house in North Berwick adorned with beautiful Victorian architecture. Christine describes what that visit meant to her: “When I saw the apartment for the first time, it had a stove and oven, closet space, a small kitchen, heat, a bathroom; I couldn’t believe it. I remember asking ‘All this can really be mine?’”
She accepted the apartment immediately and though she couldn’t move her furniture from her trailer into her new home because of black mold, she brought the only two things she owned, her television set, and her cat, Gizzy. “When I moved in for the first time, I realized I had a place to call home. Some people might look at this and say this is just a room, but to me it’s a palace.”
She put her television in the corner, sat down on the floor of her unfurnished apartment, and started to cry, overwhelmed by joy. She held her cat close and said “Gizzy, you don’t have to be cold anymore.”