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.

Thanksgiving Day is TODAY.  It is sunny and cold this morning. I will have to wear my woolen petticoat even though all the fireplaces have been lit.  This had to be done early enough to warm all the rooms for our guests.  Grandmere will no doubt have on two wool petticoats and her warmest woolen shawl.  The hearths have all been swept clean with a dried turkey wing.  The feathers had been left on as it dried.  I don’t really like to look at it,  Mother tells me, “Mary, don’t be foolish, it is merely a sweep.”

Father’s friends wished him to accompany them for a turkey shoot, but he came to church service with the family.  I heard Mother speaking to him about the matter.  The service was long and I could hear my belly rumbling as I thought about the pies and tart at home.  The grownups will be at the table for perhaps two hours.  Father said in some homes, the day is spent in somber reflection.  Our family enjoys our guests and
gives thanks for our plenty.  After our meal,  Josh and Brent whispered to me that they
had never seen so many pies and puddings.  After we had eaten, the women and those hired for the day began to put away the left overs and wash the dishes.

The rest of us told stories and played our favorite games.  This year Father had hidden
coins around the house and we searched from the cellar to the attic.  I found the most.
I am good at finding things.  The men went to the barn to see some animals and then went walking through the fields.  Some of the older boys and girls went to visit at a neighboring farm where there would be dancing.  When the women gathered in the parlour, they spoke of their parents and grandparents and were eager to tell us about their gatherings as children.  Brent said grownups like to do that many times.  He was correct.

*On the day before Thanksgiving, William Bently observed:  “Markets higher this day than yesterday. Turkies at 12 1/2 cents, ducks at 75 cents a pair.  The rise has happened several years”.  Our Own Snug Fireside by Jane C. Nylander.

by Mary Beekman

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