All the Happy People

by Barb, posting from the couch her living room in Portland, Maine, which is a cool thing all by itself

As some of you know, the home we own in Boothbay Harbor was bought and run by my mother-in-law, Olga Carito as the Seafarer Inn, a bed and breakfast. Olga passed away in January, and one of the tasks that fell to my husband and me was going through boxes and boxes (and boxes) of photos.

As a mathematician, Olga’s approach to organizing photos was perhaps best explained by chaos theory. None of the albums, or even pages within albums, have any coherence as to date, subject, or setting. Except for the albums given to her as gifts, or the ones completed by her guests.

Most of the photos were easily dispensed with. We created boxes for each of Bill’s siblings and for his aunt. We threw out many. Why in the 90s did we think double, triple or even quadruple prints were such a bargain?

The ones that gave me a pause were the hundreds and hundreds of photos of the Seafarer’s guests. Some of them we know. They are relatives or friends or even us, since we all used to come to the inn. But most of them we don’t recognize.

So many smiling people. Enjoying their vacations. Relaxed and happy.





There are the family gatherings–the weddings, rehearsal dinners, family reunions, and gatherings for memorial services.




There are the couples, new and established, old and young.







There are the children–young adults now, getting special time with mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa.








There are the visitors from near and far, getting to know, really know, the United States and its citizens around the breakfast table.






Some faces show up year after year, in the same season, spring, summer or fall.







We kept some of the photos and gave some to Bill’s brothers and sisters. They document a part of Olga’s life we knew about, but largely weren’t a part of.

It’s the smiles that mean the most.



About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
This entry was posted in Barb's Posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to All the Happy People

  1. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Sweet post, Barb. The Seafarer must have been a special place, and it is clear from this and past posts Olga was a remarkable woman.

  2. Your triple prints made me laugh. My chaos theory might be worse than Olga’s — boxes of photos not in albums. I guess maybe that’s what winter nights should be for this year.

  3. Heather says:

    She, or whoever she asked to be behind the camera, had to take 6-10 shots of the same pose. 1 or 2 photos of a guest just wouldn’t do

Leave a Reply