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.

Yesterday Brent decided he wished to read.  I know how to read some words also.  I had to complete my sewing and I could not sit and read with Brent or Josh.  But today, the sun is not out, and it is notreally bright enough to see the tiny stitches well.  Perhaps we can go to our books.  Everyone in our family has their own bookshelf with their own books on it.  Father likes to read Robinson Crusoe and Gullvier’s Travels to us.  I like the stories, but I like the pictures best.  I close my eyes and pretend I am inside the picture.  I can make the story end any way I wish to then.

My favorite story is about Tom Thumb.  I want to know how to read it by myself someday.  It is about a boy named Tom Thumb who is no bigger than his father’s thumb.  I always laugh when Father reads about Tom falling into a bowl.  Then he gets baked inside a pudding!!!  And then his mother becomes frightened and jumps when she sees the pudding move.  I hop around when Father gets to that part of the tale.  I think Tom sleeps in a walnut shell.  Next time Mother cracks walnuts for a cake, I am going to save a shell and see if Tom will come to my house to sleep in it.

Josh and Brent told me they DO NOT like stories about Goody Twoshoes.  It is about a poor orphan  girl who only has one shoe.  A rich man gives her two shoes and she is very happy and tells everyone.  She is a very good girl and is most  kind to everyone.  She grows up to be a teacher.  I think she marries a very rich man.  Brent wants me to ask for some books about a boy name Harry Potter.  I don’t think even Father knows about him.  I wonder if a peddler would have one?

Josh seems to know about this Harry Potter……………

by Mary Beekman

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My dear Mary,

As you are growing up, a lady in England by the name of Jane Austen is writing novels which will become a mainstay of any library. She will only have time to write six novels, sadly. Each of the books are well-loved, especially by the ladies. I hope that in years to come you will look for the books, beginning with "Sense and Sensibility" and then "Pride and Prejudice." They are still being discussed and read in the 21st century.

Keeping reading with your parents.

Much love to you,


Andre Jones

This is a little creepy, but I LOVE your perspective….I am reading the "Adventures of Robinson Caruso" on my brand new Kindle. It is a fascinating read and gives you an idea of the life of those before us. Books; don't you just love them…they are time capsules.
100 years from now, I am sure ,people will be laughing at Josh's books.

teri tighe

Oh Mary, I have all the Harry Potter books. I will loan them to you, if you wish? Your family will have hours of adventures reading these stories.

I must look in to this Goody Twoshoe story. I think I might have heard about it many years ago but I am not familiar with the story.


I hadn't heard about 'goody two shoes' and it's a lovely tale. As a child, I loved and read and re-read a book about Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish singer who ultimately did shows with P.T. Barnham thoughout the US, billed as "The Swedish Nightengale." As I recall, one of her co-performers in the Barnham show was Tom Thumb. What beautiful stories! Thank you for sharing!