Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America

Step, step, march, march, in and out, up and down.  I am trying very heard to sew in the tiniest of stitches………all across one side of the handkerchief.  Mother says my stitches are still too large.  So I am pretending my needle is taking fairy steps across the fabric.  If I prick my finger, a tiny drop of red appears on the white fabric and the bigger girls wag their heads at me. Now Mother will have to soak the cloth in cold water to take the red out.  Brent and Josh are tired of waiting for me. I hope they are outside picking berries.  That is what I want to do.

Father is home today.  He is helping the farmer with the livestock.  If he would come in for just a moment, I know he would see me and IF I looked up with a sad face; he would say, “Mary, I need you outside……………..”  I hear his footsteps in the hallway.  It happened!!  I am outside!!  I went around the  corner of the barn to the brambles to pick some blackcaps.  They grow wild there. Josh and Brent must be gone because even I cannot see them.  The biggest berries seem to always grow in the middle of the dead canes.  I only want to pick enough to eat right now.  I stretch and reach inside the branches.

One of the higher canes caught my cap and tugged it off and another cane is tangled in my hair. I took a step forward and a branch jumped up and scratched my leg.  But my hair is still caught.  I leaned first to one side and then the other and found that my apron is now snagged.  I shall bend backwards.  My cap fell down but  I cannot reach it and my hair is still being pulled.  I called for Josh and Brent.  They were not too far away because they came quickly.  Josh said “Let me assess the problem.”  He seems to be more patient than Brent.   Brent wanted to crash right through the bushes and pull my hair free.  I could feel the wind begin to blow just as Josh reached in to free first my hair and then my apron.  I was able to pick enough berries to fill one hand and they were so good.

Josh told me about a pie his mother would make.  I wonder if Mother would make one.

1  1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1  1/2 cup blackcaps
1 baked pastry shell
whipped cream

Mix sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together until thick.
Fold in 1 cup of blackcaps – chill
Top with whipped cream and remaining blackcaps.

by Mary Beekman

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Peggy thall

We also have wild blackberries growing I pick some every other day for one of my grandsons tommy who loves them . It is also very hot here on long island ny / in the 90's almost every day / maybe someday will try your pie / peggy

susan tolbert

Hi Mary, I too have been out picking berries. My neighbor has a large raspberry patch and I picked six quarts yesterday. I will be making jam this evening. I also think I will try Josh's mothers pie but I will use the raspberries. I'm not the best cook but I keep trying and hope things will improve. I hope you are staying cool with this heat wave we are having. It has been in the 90's for many days here in Michigan and tomorrow we may reach 100. I will be happy when it is back in the 70's. Take care my friend and I will let you know how the pie turns out. Your Friend, sue t.