“When COVID hit, my job told me I could work from home. I had more free time and started playing around with starting my own business. I have two kids and Fresh Touch Carpet Cleaning started after I cleaned the mess my kids made on my mom’s couch. I started passing out fliers and couldn’t believe it when I got my first gig. I always wanted to have my own business and be on my own schedule.
My great-grandfather is from Gee’s Bend. Maybe sewing and the quilts is in the bloodline. When I went to college, I made my bedspread and pillows. It is an honor to get to clean one of the Gee’s Bend quilts for Leigh and think about the women who made it.”
“She did a fantastic job cleaning the quilt. It is better than we found it. The story of Gee’s Bend is resourcefulness and women using materials that don’t have value and making them into works of art and things that are beautiful and meaningful.
My dad was one of the original members of the Gee’s Bend Hunting Club. It was a place in the woods for families and outdoor sports. I spent most weekends of my childhood there during the fall and winter. From the back seat, I stared out the window and could tell you about every house and trailer along the way. We passed the Freedom Quilting Bee that was born in the civil rights movement as a way for poor black craftswomen in the Alabama Black Belt to earn money for their families.
There were always people waving and walking down the road. I wondered what they thought about these white hunters and families coming into their community. It was exposure to economic disparities that I didn’t understand as a kid on my way to play in the woods. That later drove me to learn more and understand my place in the world. I am curious about people’s stories and who they are. It is one of the reasons I became a therapist.
Those woods are the best memories of my childhood. I did my senior thesis on Gee’s Bend. I wanted a Gee’s Bend quilt in our counseling office because it was part of my story.
My hope is that the quilt and art in our office helps people find themselves or something they relate to. Art connects to the hurting parts of people, their biggest mistakes, their biggest regrets. The ugly parts that aren’t easily articulated. Art can free people up to release shame, or say ‘me too.’ It also helps people feel like they aren’t alone, they aren’t the only screwups. We all need help to get to our better sides.
I have had my own journey with depression and have been through therapy myself. I think it makes me a better clinician. My husband is also a therapist. We have a passion for people and we fight for them. We fight for kids in the face of injustice and a broken system.
This building we moved into in Mobile was almost condemned. There were once homeless people living here and it was also a place of worship, and I am glad for both. They are part of the spirit that feels good when you are here. We are all on the spectrum of suffering, but there is so much in life that is connected. We can help each other through it.”
Leigh Hurley, Hurley Counseling