Sometime last night, this graffiti appeared on the side of the Talbots Petites store by the Parker Harding entrance:
But it was hardly vandalism. In Westport, graffiti is elegant — and historic.
Featuring a replica of the dude who appeared on the logo of the Remarkable Book Shop, it honors Esther Kramer — the founder and longtime owner of the long-cherished store. She died earlier this month, at 93.
From 1962 to 1994, the Remarkable Book Shop occupied a former private home at the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding.
Painted pink, it was certainly distinctive. Even more remarkable was what was inside. Books on every topic imaginable — including cutting-edge topics like women’s rights — filled uneven shelves. Overstuffed chairs invited browsers to sit, read and linger, long before Barnes & Noble turned that concept into corporate policy.
A cat curled in the corner.
The floor was wooden, and uneven — something Esther and her staff never were. They knew every customer — from Paul Newman and hotshot writers down to 3rd graders — by name. Esther and her staff knew everyone’s tastes, and never hesitated to recommend a good read.
They knew what a local bookstore could — and should — be: A community gathering place. Warm, friendly, funky. Something remarkable, which no one seemed to remark upon until it was gone.
Last night, someone remembered. And made his or her mark in a way Esther no doubt would have loved.
(Fun fact: “Remarkable” included Esther’s last name, Kramer, spelled backward. A commemoration of her life will be held Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at the Westport Library.)