It was called the Park Barn and my father’s office was there. I thought he owned the building. Sometime between then and now a fire destroyed most of the building. It has been resurrected by the city by keeping part of the original walls and building a structure inside of them used as a theater.
He drove there every Sunday after ushering at the 11:00 mass at Redemptorist Church. This was before the 40-hour work week. Sometimes we waited in the car, other times we walked up the steep hill to the top when my aunt was there to watch us. Often he drove around his entire district to see if something needed his attention. On the walks she collected for us red berries that had fallen from the trees. We called them red flowers; I do not know the scientific name. Then she strung a thread through the berries to make a necklace. I thought I was elegant in this jewelry.
I walked the hill last year with my daughter. It is not so steep and all the berry trees are gone. The building was vacant. No city trucks were parked in the drive, the gasoline pump is gone, and the general feeling is empty.
My aunt and my father are gone—with the berry trees. It is a different but pleasant place to be, and for me as long as any of the stone walls are there, it is still my father's office.
Mary Francis Herrington
April 1, 2008
The Park Barn is in Penn Valley Park, approximately 30th and Penn Valley Drive.