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.

The women who helped with the wash said their hands were chapped. Sometimes my hands get chapped if I play in the water outside and it is cold.  One day I was blowing bubbles and I needed to swish the water in my bowl to make more suds.  Then another day I held my mittens under the rain spout because the water felt really cold.  Mother was angry that I had gotten so wet.  I promised that I would not do it again.  Brent and Josh were there when I was scolded. Mother never sees them . It is a good thing because their mittens were wetter than mine.  They didn’t come inside with me after.

I know it was a cold day because there was frost on the ground.  I could see my foot prints after I stepped. I could not see Josh and Brent’s marks and they were walking with me.  I walked over to the fence and put my foot on the bottom rail and it slipped right off.  When I came back nearer the house I could hear the water begin to trickle in the rain spout.  I held my hands in my mittens underneath to feel the sound of trickle get bigger and bigger.  It was so cold it felt sharp.  That’s when Mother saw me.

Mother put the same paste for chapped hands on my hands that the women use.  It always works and smells quite nice.

Paste for chapped hands*
Mix a quarter of a pound of unsalted hog lard, which has been washed in common and then rose water, with the yolks of two new-laid eggs, and a large spoonful of honey.
Add as much oatmeal or almond paste as will work into a paste.*

*New System of Domestic Cooking

by Mary Beekman

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