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.