In 1998, a young woman who was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago relocated herself, a son and a daughter from Brooklyn, New York to Claymont, Delaware. Still grieving from the untimely death of her fiance’ and left alone to raise the small children she decided to become a small business owner.
A transplant from New York unable to find the cultural exchanges that she had grown accustomed decided to open Mejah Books, Inc .
Emlyn DeGannes, or “Ms. M” as she prefers to be called left the Interior Design Industry in NY to become a small vendor in the Tri-State Mall. There are days when Mejah Books, Inc. is filled with the sounds of Latin, Caribbean or Reggae music, but on this particular Saturday it was the soothing sounds of Meditation Music.
The staff is pleasant and engaging, you are invited to purchase a cup of coffee, tea or water while you shop. However, if not there to make a purchase feel free to take a seat to read, relax, meditate, or even take a nap. The aroma, a mixture of oils and incense envelops you into warm comfort.
I walked around checking out the many book titles, magazines, artwork, handcrafted jewelry, body scrubs and lotions. It reminded me of the small boutiques in Soho, as men women and children wandered in and out exchanging pleasantries, enjoying a family day outing. It didn’t feel as though I had entered this Zen-like area from the cool corridors of a Mall.
There are books of interest for everyone including children who are welcomed to come in, sit and relax with or without their parents, a perfect place for the back to school crowd.
Ms. M is also an author and one of her recent works “Voices…Letters to Ms. Em Reflections of Life While Doing Life” is now part of the Education curriculum at the University of Delaware where she is also a guest speaker.
Now that her son, Jordan and daughter Jewel are grown, she continues to work even outside of the bookstore. She mentors young ladies through Voices of Beautiful Flowers; is a Cyber School Instructor with achievementcharter.com and she also receives correspondence from inmates from all over the world. Ms. M takes time to write each of them back or she may send a book of encouragement. In the back room she has a credenza that contains hundreds of letters and cards from these men and women.
To say, Ms. M is a busy lady would be an understatement, “every day brings more life to discover, you just have to open your heart to find it.”
If you happen to be in Claymont, stop in at the TriState Mall and visit Ms. M at Mejah Books, Inc. The shop is open everyday, Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm. I look forward to returning and featuring her in another one of her many community projects.