I am a registered nurse, Lamaze childbirth educator and trainer as well as a doula who lives on Bainbridge Island. I know Penny Simkin and...

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I am a registered nurse, Lamaze childbirth educator and trainer as well as a doula who lives on Bainbridge Island. I know Penny Simkin and think she is wonderful (“Labor of Love,” March 23). She’s one of the reasons I am on the board at Open Arms Perinatal Services.

I wanted to tell you how much I loved the article you wrote, Paula Bock, and the pictures you made, Benjamin Benschneider, of Penny and her class participants. The article was so well written and presented the current birth scene so well and in such a balanced fashion, warts and all. The pictures were so representative of Penny and her style and her life.

What a treat it was to open the Sunday paper and find a dear friend and colleague. Thank you again for bringing to the forefront, the issues of birth in this current climate of fear and over reliance on technology that has no credibility in evidence based care. Women need to know what is true and not true about the great birth machine.

Wouldn’t it be marvelous to have an article about normal birth and how it takes place in birth centers, at home and, sometimes, in hospitals? (You might want to visit Lamaze.org and Childbirthconnection.org.)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

— Kris Avery, Bainbridge Island

Sinclair Lewis expounded on the view

Thanks for William Dietrich’s Pacific Northwest article on our love affair with view property (“Now Rising,” Architecture 2008, April 6). It is not a new thing.

Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Free Air,” which was published in 1919, before “Main Street” made him one of the nation’s foremost men of letters, relates a young man’s drive across the country from Minnesota to Seattle, in a primitive automobile on primitive roads, and his experiences in and impressions of our city. Lewis was a Minnesotan, a flatlander. Seattle’s views, and Seattleites’ attitude toward them, obviously impressed him. Here is one paragraph:

“In Seattle, even millionaires, and the I.W.W., and men with red garters on their exposed shirt-sleeves who want to give you real estate, all talk about the View. The View is to Seattle what the car-service, the auditorium, the flivver-factory, or the price of coal is to other cities. At parties in Seattle, you discuss the question of whether the View of Lake Union or the View of the Olympics is the better, and polite office-managers say to their stenographers as they enter, “How’s your View this morning?” All real estate deeds include a patent on the View, and every native son has it as his soundest belief that no one in Tacoma gets a View of Mount Rainier.”

When I was growing up in Ballard in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, views belonged more to neighborhoods than to individual homes. I find it regrettable that public access to all this beauty is gradually being cut off by buildings that jut up and out to capture as much of it as possible for the exclusive benefit of their increasingly wealthy and isolated occupants.

— Henry Bjornsson, Seattle

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