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
Everyone was very sad today. Mother and Father just learned the news from a farm neighbor of ours that one of their sons drowned earlier in the day. He was two years older than me. That means he was five. Father called us all together for our evening prayers and told us. Then he was very stern, giving warning to stay off the ice
on the ponds. He told us, and he was looking very directly at the bigger boys, that because the weather is getting warmer the ice is not very thick. We must not go on it any more this time of year.
Mother is going to go to the neighbor tomorrow. She is a friend of Mother’s. Mother said she knew it is going to be especially unhappy because their new baby only lived for two days. The baby was very tiny and looked so beautiful. Mother was there when the new baby was born. Some of the other ladies Mother knows also helped the new baby be born. Each time our family hears of the death of a child, Mother hugs me extra tight………even if I have not done all my tasks. Her cheek feels wet to me. I do not like it when she is sad. I kiss her.
I asked Josh and Brent if they knew about malignant sore throat or consumption. Brent wanted to know all about it but I don’t know very much. I know that people shake their heads and make a tsk sound when someone has either one of those illnesses. Josh asked me if I knew what polio was. I never heard of that. I know that the children who expire are dressed in white clothes and their coffin is in their house.I am certain that a lock of hair will be saved. Someone always sits with them until they go to the cemetery. Then there is a big meal for everyone. It is good that our neighbor has eight other children to care for.