The poetess sees her mother’s photo that lay within the cardboard boxes.
The three girls went on sea holiday holding hands of each other. They all posed in front of the camera smiling when their uncle took a photograph of them. They look happy and excited with their pleasant smiles.
Poetess describes a photograph of her mothers’ childhood, when she went for a sea holiday with her two girl cousins Betty and Dolly.
In her older days, her mother looks back on the day at the sea. Moreover, she remembers her two cousins and recalls the day memorialized in the photograph. Also, she makes fun of her and her cousins’ outfits.
The poetess remembering her mother as she died earlier. She confesses that the photo reminded her the mother’s laughter and her mother was delighted in remembering the day at the sea.
Long time over since her mother’s final departure is the same as her age in the photograph i.e., 12 years. Maybe it’s a coincidence or an irony of life and death.