By Murray Schneider
At the Benefit for Blanche Bebb last Friday, Bird and Beckett owner, Eric Whittington, told a wall-to-wall audience crowded into his Chenery Street bookstore that his window displays represented an assortment of books that Blanche, who suffered a stroke several weeks ago and is now recovering in a Burlingame rest facility, reads and treasures.
Eric Whittington’s impressive literary array speaks volumes not just for the literature Blanche enjoyed, but for the affection in which Eric holds Blanche, whom he first met in 1999 when his bookstore was located on Diamond Street. “She’s impassioned about literature,” Whittington said on January 7th, as the Don Prell Ensemble put down their instruments and took a break. “She particularly respected the Czech novelist, Josef Skvorecky.” But, as his windows tell the tale, Blanche, ever the bibliophile, also enjoyed Russian writers such as Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Chekov and Nabokov.
“In order to read these writers in their own language,” Whittington revealed to over 60 of her friends, “Blanche learned Russian.” And as everyone who has ever walked into Bird and Beckett knows, Blanche also spelled Eric at the cash register.
“Over the years Blanche critically allowed me go get lunch,” Eric grinned, two days after the benefit that raised well over $3,200 for a neighborhood lady who loves books.