Day 5 — Mama & Papa — Thirty in Thirty

John Berry
3 min readMar 15, 2017


Mom and Dad sitting at our family Restaurant, sometime in the late 80s.

Above is a photocopy of a photo of my mom and dad. This picture has been with me everywhere. It has hung on the wall of my studio, taped to the back of a sketchbook, pinned to the wall in my previous apartment, and is now taped to the wall in my bathroom vanity area.

This photo was taken soon after my parents were married. I was not yet born. They were a young and optimistic couple, in love and happy. You can see it in their faces. The photo was taken in my father’s restaurant, those original glass tiles and brick walls are still there. And I bet if you asked my mom and dad they still have those outfits hidden away in their closets somewhere.

When I first stumbled upon this photo, I made a photocopy of it, and became obsessed with the quality of it. So I made several more. I wanted it to live on forever.

There is something about the way this image was being reproduced on paper, in a lo-fidelity form that brought an instant nostalgia to it. It tells a story without any words, as most photos do, but the quality of the photocopy takes it ten times further, somewhere else.

Since this photo, my parents have had two children, me and my younger brother (13 months apart). My mother raised us and did an amazing job balancing a life of expectations and personal beliefs. Raising us to be free thinkers, life learners, creative individuals, and sensitive men. My dad worked every single day I can remember at that restaurant. When I say that, most people think I am exaggerating, but I am not. Apart from the few family vacations we took, most of which he had to leave early to go back to the restaurant, he worked every single day. This year he closed the restaurant after being in business for over 60 years, and he couldn't be happier.

My parents got divorced when I was 18. Most people think of divorce as bad, and I can definitely see that. It was at times very hard and at times I am sure it is difficult for my parents, or possibly just confusing. This is because our family has felt more whole since the divorce than it ever did when they were married. We have been on more family vacations with my divorced parents than we ever did when they were together.

This has often gotten me thinking about the ideas of marriage, partnerships, relationships, and family, all of which I would like to write more about, however I also want to wrap this up.

What it has made me realize is that family is about the people who take care of you. I have two parents who are not married, but have a stronger relationship than most married couples. This is because they do it for their kids and each other. They obviously love each other, they just couldn't be married anymore. But that didn't mean the relationship between these two people was going to end. It actually only grew stronger. Maybe this is because all bets were off, all guards were down, and vulnerability was seen. Or maybe it was because they didn't know how to communicate and it took getting a divorce to finally be able to communicate and be honest with each other taking their relationship to another level. I am not sure, but I do know that I have two of the best parents I could have asked for, and who make up the most perfect picture of family to me, which is individuals who care for each other and me and are always there no matter what.

It is late and I must sleep, and I will write about this more, but first and foremost I just wanted to give a shout out to that beautiful photocopy on my wall of my beautiful mom and dad who raised me. Mom and Dad, I love you.

This is part of my Thirty in Thirty series. You can read Day 1 here, and follow the links up until now.

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John Berry

Sometimes writing, sometimes designing, but always growing exploring and discovering. Product Designer @Facebook