Adios Procopio’s

Adios Procopio’s

Originally uploaded by dchurbuck

The gas station that didn’t sell gas is going away. The roof came off this afternoon and the tank removal people are pulling the remains out of the ground.

I used to fill my bike tires from the air pump (before they made you pay a quarter for air) and all day long you could hear the ding-ding of the bell that went off when the cars drove in and ran over the pink rubber hoses. Every so often the sweet “ping” of a dropped wrench would come up the street and onto the porch.

Pete Pells was the gas station attendant in the 60s. My grandmother taught him how to swim. Then the Procopios moved in and festooned the place with cardboard signs like “We Mow Lawns.” Mister Procopio was a weight lifter and quite a strong man. I recall a photograph of him towing a B-52 bomber down a runway with a rope held between his teeth. Or something similar.

Now it is all ghosts and memories. Torn down and paved over to provide more parking for the dipsomaniacs at the Kettle-Ho and the weekend crush of Town Dock traffic. They should have dug it up and turned it into a mini-park. I’m glad there isn’t a big tank of gasoline in the ground a few hundred yards from the harbor. I always wondered where the gas and oil drippings went when Mrs. Procopio hosed off the pavement in front of the pumps.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

6 thoughts on “Adios Procopio’s”

  1. I had heard that the building was actually holding up the cement wall, which in turn was holding up the property with the Victorian (?) house. Did they solve the support problem, or will that cute house end up sliding downhill onto the overpriced parking lot the next time it rains?

    I agree with the park… or at least charge a fortune for a parking sticker to use that lot. How much did the town pay for that plot anyway??

  2. I think it went for a couple hundred thousand. Not sure of the final price. There was a buyer a couple years ago who wanted to revive the gas station, but he backed out. Parking is an issue in the center of the village. The library wants to expand its lot. The Kettle-Ho crowd can choke both sides of School Street, reducing it to an annoying single lane. Then there is the dock. Living right in the midst of it, I wish the commercial interests would back off, that the village would provide less not more parking so the village services remain village services and not an attractive nuisance. The town isn’t a fan of village specific parking. I would be.

    The retaining wall beside the Scudder house? ?Not sure but one would think that sucker was pretty unstable. I wonder how many years of oil and grease was baked into the wreckage. I like the new view though.

  3. We have a wonderful Richard Sparre oil painting of the station with the Procopios “at work”which I purchased at the first Cotuit “Brush-Off” auction (I just left that paddle up for as long as it took—no way I was going to lose that painting.) Mr. is lying prone on the base of the tanks taking a nap, Mrs. is wearing a tight sexy outfit and pumping gas, Junior is inside wearing his red bandana working under the hood of a truck. Absolutely priceless, and now even more so.

    1. Hah! That’s close to how I remember them. I used to pump gas there back when I was in high school and lift weights there at night. Knew the family well and remember them with great fondness. I haven’t been home in years, and yesterday drove to Cotuit to see the old gas station. It was gone! Hence my online search to figure out what happened to it.

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