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
It is Pentecost today. I know church will be long with much talk about the holy spirit. I try to understand, I really do. Father said the Dutch in our neighborhood call it Pinksteren. In our church today there will be three babies baptised. I think it will be a “wiggle” Sunday. It is so beautiful today with lots of sunshine. Josh and Brent and I will want to be outside. I hope they will sit in church with me and not make me giggle. No one see them; they say that about the holy spirit also. But I can see Josh and Brent. When I laugh at the faces Brent makes, Mother frowns at me…..for a really long time. We always have gingerbread on Pentecost.
Father gave our slaves permission to go to Albany to celebrate Pinkster. I think that would be great fun. I know he will worry until everyone is back on the farm safely. Pinkster gives Africans a chance to meet with friends and family. They don’t often see family members because they may work on different farms in different towns. They dance, sing, tell stories and do not have to be at work for three of four days. There are stalls where items are sold to anyone who attends. I wish I could go there and listen to the drumming. I have heard Indian drums but this is different.
A man is appointed King Charles. He reigns over all of Pinkster. He makes speeches and leads the celebration. He must be a man who is highly respected. There is much for him to do. I heard the younger women who help Mother tell her about some of the dances…….the jig, breakdown or double shuffle. Josh said it seemed similar to break dancing, but when he tried to show me, he fell down. He looked very silly. I shared my gingerbread with Josh and Brent . Then I had to ask for another piece.
(Learn more about “Pinkster” – a fascinating but little-known uniquely NY African-American holiday here.)