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Contributed by: John Palatucci
Contributed on: January 23, 2007

Which blackout(s) did you experience?

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
I was all of about 5 years old. To my recollection things went this way. I was watching TV with my brother. We are watching-and I'm taking a memory guess here- the Three Stooges. All of a sudden the screen on the TV started acting kooky, shrinking and expanding. Then everything just went dead, lights, TV screen. For a moment I think everything went back on again and then it did the same thing, TV went kooky and then the lights went out. And that was it. My poor Dad was stuck in Manhattan for the night. So it was my Mom, my sister and my two brothers. I remember the fireplace burning and my Mom burning candles. How cool was this for a five-year old kid! I wasnít frightened in the least bit. But the memory that is forever ingrained into my imagination was the Moon. It was so beautiful that night. And so were the stars. To this day I remember my older brother leading me outside and saying, "Look at the Moon. Look how bright it is." And we stayed out there as long as we could in the cold air gazing at those glorious stars and the biggest, brightest Moon you'll ever see. What a great memory!

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Honestly I think the Feds might have been behind the 1965 Blackout. Of course this is all X Files stuff. But look at the history at that time with the Cold War and all. Maybe they planned it, to see how the reaction would be if there was nuke strike by the Soviets that caused a major failure of the power grid. There is a type nuke strike in the atmosphere that will do just that. So, it couldíve been their way of testing the grid and the EMS in the East Coast, which is probably not such a bad thing after all. Just speculating.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
The 1965 Blackout was really cool for me. Of course I was only a little kid. The 1977 Blackout was horrible. I just didnít understand why there was so much looting in NYC. It was really sick to see all those people acting like beasts. Here was a golden opportunity to come together like it was in '65 and what do we do? Loot and kill! Pretty sad.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Became less reliant

Cite as: John Palatucci, Story #1243, The Blackout History Project, 23 January 2007, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/1243/>.
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