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

Brent and Josh were in my room early this morning.  I had not even had my breakfast or done my letters or chores.  I was sitting cross legged on the floor putting my shoes on. Brent said how silly Nell and I looked walking behind Nell’s grandmother the other day. She is very old and when she was walking, she was picking her feet up very high and putting them back down very carefully.  We were following behind her and were walking the same way. Brent bent his arms at the elbow and tucked his hands under his arms and walked that way too. At the same time he pushed his head forward and was hissing like the old goose in the pen.  I giggled so hard, I fell over backwards. Mother was in the hallway upstairs and said, “Mary, what is the matter with you.  Come along.”  Josh and Brent hurried behind the door.  It doesn’t matter though because Mother can never
see them anyway.

The boys are going to pick wild cherries.  They earn money because people use this fruit to make cherry rum or cherry bounce.  They usually receive about a dollar a bushel and a large tree would fill about six bushels*.  Whenever Mother and I go visiting, the ladies are served cherry bounce.  I don’t know what it tastes like, but they seem to like it.   When the boys come back I hope we can go down to the pond.  It is hot outside and I think about how cool the water would feel between my toes.  Sometimes when I pick my feet out of the mud, I have to pick the leeches off.  I don’t wade in the water as far as the older children do.  Josh told me if he lived in my house, he would like to have a swimming pool, one that is heated.  I had to ask him about it.  Josh said there would be no mud and Brent said there would not be leeches or turtles or even grass in it.  The bottom and sides would be hard and you could go in it even if the day was cool because the water would always be warm.  It sounds uninteresting to me.  They showed me where they would like to put it.  Maybe someday, if they do live in my house, I can visit them and see this pool.

Cherry Bounce

Fill a jug with cherries, then with brandy. Keep well corked for 6 months.
Then boil a thick syrup of loaf sugar with spices in proportion, agreeable to your taste.
When the syrup is cold, fill your bottle 2/3 full with cherry brandy, add the spiced syrup until
bottles are full. Cork them well.*

*American Children Through Their Books: 1700-1835
*Young Housewives Counsellor and Friend by Mrs. Mary Mason

by Mary Beekman

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My brothers would give you some cherries and then you

would only have to purchase the brandy. Mother saves

the brine from pickles also. She uses vinegar and water to

rinse my hair before I dry it in the sunshine….but not

pickle brine.



This cherry bounce sounds good.

Today I put peeled hard boiled eggs and sliced onions in the dill pickle juice I had after I ate all the pickles. Sometimes it is bread and butter pickle brine, sometimes dill. That sure is good too. I never throw pickle juice away, something can soak in it.

I will go buy cherries and brandy!