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 very nice to take my Saturday bath in the warm months. I can get all the way into the water in my tub when it is warm.  I get in the water before the bigger girls.  Sometimes we share the water because it takes a long time to carry it all inside.  If my feet are very dirty, they make me wash them before I get in.  We only heat a little bit of it and the rest is cool. We take a full bath once a week. That is when we all put on clean undergarments.  Sometimes in the summer the boys take their bath in the pond or the stream. I think that would be fun. I like frogs. But the girls in my family bathe inside.  Mother likes us all to be scrubbed clean for church on Sunday.

In the winter time the water is so cold I cannot sit down in my tub.  Mother washes me off while I stand in the tub and then rubs me very hard with a towel.  It is a scratchy towel that makes my skin red.  The soap doesn’t really have a smell.  For her birthday, Mother got some soap that smells like flowers. Once in a while, she will use it on me and I smell so nice.  It puts me in mind of the mock orange bushes that grow outside my window in the summer.  They aren’t very big yet, but Josh says they will be.

People in my house bathe in their rooms in a hip bath.  We have a small one for infants and a larger one for children like me and then a big one for the grown ups.  Each bedroom also has a “chamber set” that is used to wash during the week.  In the winter the water might be frozen in the morning.  One day this winter, one of the boys said he would get right in his hip bath in front of the fireplace.  It froze right in front of the fire.  It does not take any of us a long time to bathe on Saturdays in the winter.  Brent told me and Josh that he would NEVER take a bath in the winter with cold water.  His house always has warm water.  I don’t know how that can be.

by Mary Beekman

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My Mom and Grandma used to make big batches of soap and they’d throw in whole flower petals and other leav-ey things, and so when we were little my brother and I used to think there were bugs in the soap. They used to smell really great though. It seems weird, but it actually feels really good.


I remember that too! I also remember "Sweetheart Soap". My sister in law made me a gift bar with it when I was about 9 years old by using wax to adhere a pretty floral picture to the front of it. You can use the soap and the wax "saves" the picture! It was so special to a little girl…


Soaking in hot water is bliss. New bars of soap are so beautiful. I remember a fragrant oval pink bar of soap from long ago, but have forgotten the name.