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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.

Nell’s grandmother was visiting her yesterday when Mother and I were there.  She has white hair. I think she must be very old because she walked so slowly and used a walking stick.  She picked her feet up very high and placed them down very carefully.  So we walked slowly too. She had come outside to see the castle house we had made in the roots of the old tree. She looked at all the rooms and our dishes and even rocked the walnut shell cradle with the end of her walking stick. Then she asked us if we knew how to make a hollyhock doll.  We both told her that we did not know and she said she would show us. She went back to the porch and sat in a chair. Nell brought a cushion for her back.

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She told us to pick an opened hollyhock flower but to leave a little piece of the stem on it. Then we picked an unopened bud. We put the opened flower on a flat surface with the stem pointing up. Very, very carefully we pushed the flower bud (dolly’s head) rounded end down onto the small stem of the opened flower (dolly’s skirt).  This part was quite difficult because we had to be very careful.  Next we
peeled way the green covering that was around the bud, remembering to stop when we reached the colored, folded petals.  It was exciting to see our dollys in their gowns.  I made a pink and yellow one, then a red and white one.  Nell made a dolly all dressed in white.  We took them to the castle for a dance.  Nell’s grandmother said it was a Ball, not just a dance.  It was so beautiful.

For just a moment, I thought I saw Brent and Josh peeking around the big old tree at us.  But when I looked up again, they were gone.

by Mary Beekman

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