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Voice: Mains was a mentor for all people

November 12, 2001

Like many Calexicans past and present, I too was saddened by the death of Mr. Allen Mains. While he wasn't one of the founding fathers of Calexico, for the last 50 years he contributed to Calexico's unique character. I first knew him as the principal of Rockwood Junior High in the early 1950s.

When he learned I had a passing interest in geology, he invited me to go along on his rock-collecting trips and we fast became friends. He didn't let our friendship cloud his responsibility to maintain school disipline. When Billy Patterson and I painted each others faces in Mr. Span's eighth grade art class, he suspended both of us for the rest of the week.

His pretty wife, Helen, the school nurse, wore a warm smile on a lightly freckled face and beneath light red hair. She told this story about him. He was returning from rock collecting out past Plaster City when he came upon a car with its hood up and a black man with his son were underneath it.

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Whatever the problem, it couldn't be frixed and the car needed towing. They sat in the back seat while Mr. Mains drove them into town. During the ride, the son commented to his father, "He is a good white man." The father corrected him." "No son, he is a good people man."

Whenever Mr. Mains could help he did, and we all lost a mentor for friendship and citizenship when he died.

PHILIP GASH

Redding

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