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

When it is laundry day, I have to stay far out of the way of the women who are helping Mother. Once a little girl came running in the kitchen to ask a question.  The lady who was stirring the clothes in boiling water was startled and the big kettle tipped.  The little girl was under the spilling water and was burned so badly she expired after two days.  My Mother told me this story. It made me very sad. I bet her mama misses her very much.  That story really frightened Josh and Brent too. We are going to roll the ball down the hallway and stay away from the laundry work.

If our clothes have stains on them, they have to be treated in a certain way.  Mother has it all written down in her journal for housekeeping.  Chalk is used for grease and oil stains. Lemon and onion juice lightens stains.  Alcohol and kerosene removes grass stains.  Milk is used to get rid of urine stains and smells as well as fruit stains.  Human urine is used as a bleaching agent….hog manure also.  Lemon juice and then setting clothes in the sun also bleaches them. When I get bigger, I will start a journal of my own for MY house. I don’t think I will write in about the hog manure.

After the clothes are washed and wrung out, they have to dry.  In the summer we all help to lay them on clean grass or bushes or on the line.  In the winter or on rainy days they have to be hung in the attic.  Mother likes it best if they can be put outside.  Later in the day all the clothes are taken off the line and sprinkled with water and folded to be ironed the next day.  Sometimes there is so much that it is evening before it is all in and folded.

by Mary Beekman

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Susan

My dear Mary,

One of my favorite memories of my mother is the smell of water sprinkled on laundry before she ironed, and then the steam rising up from the cloth as the iron came down. The combination of scent and sound was always comforting to me.

Much love,

Susan

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sue tolbert

Hi Mary, I'm happy to hear from you. You have a very smart mother and you are so lucky to learn all the ways to keep the laundry stain free. One of my favorite things about summer is being able to hang the sheets and cases out on the line. Many people don't do this anymore. I think their missing out on climbing into bed with wonderful smelling fresh sheets. I always say you sleep better! I have been busy ironing my linen collection to bring to the Harvest Festival in September. I hope everyone enjoys seeing all of the beautiful linens. Take care my friend and give Josh and Brent a big hello. Enjoy the sunshine. sue t.

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sue tolbert

Hi Mary, So happy to hear from you. Your Mother is such a smart lady and you are so lucky to learn how to keep everything stain free. One of my favorite things about summer is being able to hang the sheets and cases on the outside line. Many people don't do this anymore. I think their missing out on climbing into bed with that fresh clean smell. I have been busy caring for my garden. I have begun harvesting some vegtables and dinner is wonderful with fresh foods. I am also very busy washing and ironing my linens to bring to the Harvest Festival in September. I sure hope everyone can see the hours put into creating such lovely things. Take care and say hi to Josh and Brent. Your Friend, sue t.

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Kathy Woodbeck

Wow would have never imagined that urine and manure used to be used to clean clothes!!!!

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