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.

SMACK, THUD, SMACK, THUD.  Those are the sounds that woke me up today.  My sister did not hear the sounds because Josh and Brent were making the strange noises and I am the only one that can hear or see them.  I peeked from my covers and
SMACK…………Brent leapt from the floor and landed a great distance ahead….. from where he had been!!  Then Josh fell backwards……THUD

I watched them two more times before I asked them what they were doing.

Josh said he was trying to remember how to change the time.  Change the time???  Brent told me that his mother taught him the way to remember whether to change the clock forward or backwards was to remember to say   “Spring ahead, Fall back.”  I was very
puzzled.  Then I recalled a piece Father read to us.  It told of a time when Benjamin Franklin,  he was a minister to France, wrote an essay called “An Economic Project For Diminishing The Cost of Light” in 1784.  He was a thrifty man.  Father likes people to be saving.  Mr. Franklin favored the use of natural light rather than artificial light.

*On the assumption that 100,000 Parisian families burned half a pound of candles per hour for an average of seven hours per day (the average time for the summer months between dusk and the supposed bedtime of Parisians), the account would stand thus:
“183 nights between 20 March and 20 September times 7 hours per night of candle usage equals 1,281 hours for a half year of candle usage. Multiplying by 100,000 families gives 128,100,000 hours by candlelight. Each candle requires half a pound of tallow and wax, thus a total of 64,050,000 pounds. At a price of thirty sols per pounds of tallow and wax (two hundred sols make one livre tournois), the total sum comes to 96,075,000 livre tournois.  “An immense sum,” the astonished Franklin concluded, “that the city of Paris might save every year.”

Father is not certain that changing the number of daylight hours would ever function properly.   “Perhaps someday”,  he pondered.  Josh and Brent told me that they have always helped their families change all the clocks in their houses TWO times a year.  I would dearly like to go home with them one day.  I wonder if they live in a house like mine?  Change the time………………….


by Mary Beekman

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