The Original Gatorade?
The Original Gatorade?

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.

My petticoats stick to the back of my legs if I sit down too long.  It is so very hot today. I went inside to ask Mother if I could have some lemonade but everyone is busy with the mending and she sent me outside again.  Dolly and I went to sit under the tree.  I laid back and looked up through the leaves.  I tried to see if I could see just ONE leaf wiggling.  I could not.  I think I was there a long time…..maybe two hours!

When I picked up dolly to go back inside, the blades of grass stuck to my arms. I was very sticky.  Each blade of grass had left a mark on my arm.  Some of them crisscrossed.  I asked Mother if I could go down to the pond and put my feet in the water to cool off. She told me I needed to stay here because there was no one to go to the pond with me.  I was very disappointed and I wanted to stay inside.  Mother shooed me out because I was getting underfoot.  I went to the far side of the house by the ferns and waited for Josh and Brent. I could not find them.  I wonder if they are at the pond.  I dare not go alone.  Father would find out.  He knows everything.

This time when I went into the house, I asked Mother if I could help.  She waited a long, long time before she replied. She told me to wait while one of the older girls mixed some switchel.*  She asked if I would take a crock to the far field to give to the men working there. She gave me the crock to carry carefully.  It felt a little cool in my arms. That was so good. I had to walk slowly so I did not slosh it about.  I walked up the same hill that we sled on in the winter and fly our kites from in the spring.  It seemed like a long way with the sun out. The men were very happy to have the drink.  I must have been gone a very, very long time.  This is the field that is most distant from my house.  I wonder if Mother will miss me?

* Switchel – an electrolyte laden drink originating in the 1600’s in the West Indies.

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup apple vinegar
1/2 gal. cool water

may add ginger

combine and mix well.

*www.wisegeek.com

by Mary Beekman

Reader Comments

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Mary

Loretta, Mother told me my diary would help me remember

things when I grow up. I' m glad it helped you remember

too.

Reply
Loretta

Where I come from watermelon pickers used to drink a mixture of Karo syrup and vinegar to keep from dehydrating. I'd forgotten until I saw this.

Reply
Mary

Phyllis, I am happy you like switchel. My mother would

be pleased to share some with you on your porch. I

am not certain about the "phone". I do not think we have one.

Reply
Phyllis

PS: I used equal parts of vinegar and honey, then added water until it tasted right! The other part of this recipe is if you have a porch, you go sit on it, and don't answer the phone!

Reply
Phyllis

Nanny would make this glass at a time. I thought as a child it would taste bad because of the vinegar, but it was really refreshing! Going to make a glass right now!

Reply