Making Maki is the home of Maki B. It’s where all of life’s parts meet. Figuring out the work-life balance, managing finances, navigating relationships, finding the things that give us joy, appreciating life’s journey and caring for ourselves along the way. Making Maki isn’t about finding any particular thing; it’s about always searching for the best versions of ourselves and making the most of all of life’s lessons and opportunities.
After seeing the clearance signs in their windows for a few days, I finally gave in and went into Kwik Bargains. I had my list in hand and went in prepared to get just what I needed. In and out - that was the plan. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work out. Instead of making a mad dash for the plate set I was looking for, I ended up just walking around the store for quite some time.
Going from one aisle to the next, I found myself smiling at my childhood. See, while Kwik Bargains may just be a home goods store to some, it has been a bit of a fixture in my life. When the adults said that we needed a stove, we went Kwik Bargains and I dragged myself up the stairs. When the adult ladies had a birthday, we went to Kwik Bargains to buy shiny things we weren’t allowed to touch. For eleven months of the year, going to Kwik Bargains seemed like a chore. I was a kid and Kwik Bargains was not a kid place. It was a place for adults to.
As I casually roamed from one aisle to the next, it dawned on me that I had grown from the child annoyed by the rows of towels to the adult who enjoyed searching for the perfect grey curtains. The realization that I was pleased with my slow exploration both surprised and warmed me. I had opened a new era into my life and hadn’t even noticed it. Gone was the era of the kid who sat on the grey steps wondering when I’d get to go home. As I reflected back on my impatient childhood, I wondered where future impatient children would go with their parents for a new refrigerator. What new traditions and institutions will be formed in the coming years?
Often enough, long-standing businesses become their own forms of institutions. They become fixtures of their communities and no one questions their existence. On an island that seems to have a perpetual lack of street signs, long-standing businesses and their buildings can become both institutions and landmarks. Let’s be real, who actually says they’re heading North or South? When driving on Pondfill, I turn by Van Dorp. When driving on Bush Road, I always run into traffic by Celebration Palace. I buy groceries at Le Grand Marché while Food Center’s parking lot is my father’s central meeting place.
This is the nature of landmarks that cement themselves into our lives. I will never forget sitting in Caribbean Palm waiting to be fitted for new uniforms. I will also never forget being rewarded with Pizza Hut in Old Street for not throwing too much of a fit or running through Caribbean Palm’s clothes racks. I used to laugh at my parents for their nostalgia, but I get it now. I actually have lived long enough to have landmarks in my life.
I don’t know what will become of the Kwik Bargains building, but I do know that it will forever be one of my personal landmarks. For this reason, I’m likely to refer to it as Kwik Bargains for the next 20 years, just as my father still refers to Food Center. I may not be hunting down glassware or linens, but I hope to drive on Bush Road and describe my experiences vividly the same way that my parents describe a St. Maarten past.
P.S. Yes, I know there are 12 months in a year. My eleven months excluded December because to this day, Kwik Bargains’ Christmas lights trigger joy in my soul. To whomever may be the next resident of that building, can you please decorate the windows every December? It’s my personal indicator that Christmas is around the corner.