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November 11, 2001
Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1965 (Great Northeast Blackout)
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 driving back to Branford, Connecticut from Hartford, where I had been delivering machine parts to Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Standard. As night fell, I realized that no street lights were lit, and the radio went off the air. My immediate thought was that aliens had landed. (I was so young). It was a very creepy feeling. No radio to tell me what was happening. I was almost afraid to get out of the car when I arrived.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
All I knew was there was some crazy electical mal-function.
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
These things happen from time to time.
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Neither was significant
Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
It wasn't significant to me - only that I was scared until I was able to get home and found a radio station that was still broadcasting, and learned that it was a power failure and not aliens.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I believe it was a Friday night, so all I had to do was to gather up as many candles as I could, and two friends and I enjoyed the darkness.
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I was actually relieved.
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Most power failures I have experienced have still allowed me to have access to news and weren't so widespread.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I only experienced the 1965 one. By 1977 I had left New England and moved to Florida - where we have power failures every time a drop of rain falls.
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?
No effect / same reliance
This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
I had not heard that story.
Story #151, The Blackout History Project, 11 November 2001, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/151/>.
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