June 1, 2017 – I walked into the garage at East Greenwich Shell Thursday to talk to Dave about getting an oil change – my car was overdue. I didn’t have an appointment, but I’d confidently pulled my car into a space on the station’s small lot at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street. I assumed I’d just leave it for the night and somehow Dave would fit my car into the schedule on Friday, as he’s done for my family for decades. Not this time.
As soon as I started talking, Dave stopped me.
“Elizabeth, I have to tell you: today’s my last day.”
You know you’ve lived in a place for a long time when hearing that your car mechanic is leaving brings you nearly to tears. I only fought them off because I couldn’t bear to cry in front of him.
After 34 years at EG Shell, Dave Frappier had taken a job for the City of Warwick, in their maintenance department. All I can say is, lucky Warwick.
Because this is the guy who would say, “Well, Elizabeth, it’s not cheap,” and then go on to tell me the fix was going to cost $120. In the land of car repairs, $120 is getting off pretty easy. He was the one who, after the timing chain on our Volvo station wagon basically melted – with resulting repair costs that weren’t cheap by any stretch – talked me off the ledge.
He and Shell owner Mark Boggs were the ones who would sometimes tag-team my car home to me after a service. One time I walked down to Shell (our house is just a few blocks away) to get my car only to be greeted by both Dave and Mark, laughing. They’d left the car in my driveway and somehow I’d missed it.
Dave was the one who told my son Aidan a few months ago that he really didn’t need to have much of anything done to his car in preparation for selling it – the car was in good shape.
There is no more service at EG Shell, just gas. Things change. When we moved to East Greenwich 28 years ago, there were three gas stations at that intersection. Now, it’s just Mark Boggs and the guys who help run the pumps at night.
I realized on Thursday that certain relationships are a lot deeper than they appear. Before Thursday, I wasn’t even sure of Dave’s last name – it was Frap something. Yet, he was one of the people in my world who I could count on.
Dave, you will be missed.
– Elizabeth McNamara