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 does not seem to matter if it is gray and snowy in the mornings or bright and full of sun. Mother is up and about and singing or humming. She likes to sing “Joy to the World” and “The First Noel” best of all. Without all the gardening and preserving to do, Mother has time to bake. She loves to bake the cakes and cookeys of Christmas. Sometimes I join in and sing with her. I like to sing. Even Josh and Brent know the words to those songs. I am the only one that hears them. Josh is very loud and Brent hums when he forgets the proper words.
Father was laughing at the table this morning when he was teasing Mother. He was reminding her of a piece in the Baltimore weekly magazine from December 20, 1800. He pulled it from his pocket and read “Get married, a wife is cheaper than a housekeeper, her industry will assist you many ways, and your children will soon share and lighten your labor.”* Mother makes a ”tish, tish” sound and asks Father “if just anyone will do?” My older sister whispered to me that Father does this every year.
Then he reads :
Christmas is come, hand on the pot,
Let spits turn round and ovens be hot;
Beef, pork, and poultry now provide
To feast thy neighbors at this tide.
Then wash all down with good wine and beer,
and so with mirth conclude the year.+
*Boydston, Jeanne. Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic.
+Virginia Almanac Joesph Royle in 1765