Breaking the chains

I would like to express my appreciation for Sidney Shanker's article ``Unchain America,'' May 8. I do my best to patronize individual grocery stores, dress shops, hardware stores, and appliance shops. I avoid chains and shopping malls and supermarkets.

Let's ``unchain America''! Mary Lee Lamy Wynnewood, Pa.

While I can empathize to some degree with Sidney Shanker's sentiments, I must express a little different view of the ``homogenization, vulgarity, and ugliness'' of supermarket chains and shopping malls.

It must be remembered that the folks who work in these stores are individuals, just as those who serve in the revered ``mom-and-pop'' variety.

Living in Los Angeles provides all sizes and shapes of shopping environments, and I have found the large can be as friendly as the small. Recently my order in a large chain-supermarket came to a perfect $10, and the clerk gleefully gave me a free candy as a reward for this feat. So you see, the warm human experience can be found in a chain store -- or anywhere you let it happen! Su Wilson Pasadena, Calif.

Sitting in my ``one-room mansion,'' I read with empathy and laughter Kristin Helmore's article ``A room of one's own -- or, eight years inside a Faberg'e egg,'' May 10. I share a bath and kitchenette with two other ``one-roomers,'' but my main at-home activities are conducted within these four walls. One learns orderliness and develops new concepts of space and home. As Kristin did, I find my space full of at-first unnoticed visual treasures created by nooks and the play of light from my two windows. The windows share with me a vision of trees, small creatures snacking on blades of grass, a superb array of feathered critters, and all the world I need. Jennifer Cora Princeton, N.J.

The literary portrait of Albert Einstein by Robert Marquand, April 23, gives a glimpse of where the genius of this ``peaceable hero'' lies [``A peaceable hero whose time hasn't passed'']. Although Einstein was a giant in physics, he knew the value of the nonphysical, and in this regard I share this quotation attributed to Einstein by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War: ``We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.'' Charles F. Rasoli Long Island City, N.Y.

Why not send Sarah Opdycke's fourth-grade class [``The newest peacemakers . . . ,'' April 19] to the summit conference? Such clearly logical approaches may be beyond the nervous ken of global power brokers right now, but has anyone better stated those wonderfully simple -- and workable -- ideas for achieving world peace? Jason Westlund as president shared in a bilateral decision to ``. . . work together to help the world and not have wars.'' And they still had time to ``clean out the ocean''!

Out of the mouths of babes, indeed! Jo Ann D. Ridley Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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