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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: March 17, 2003

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?
This event is significant to me in that it is the first memory of ANY kind that I have which can be verified by date. I was only 3 years old but I recall the event quite vividly.

We lived in Auburn, NY (about 25 miles west of Syracuse) and we had just sat down to dinner when the lights went out. My father said "Some jerk probably hit a telephone poll". Right after that, the telephone rang. It was the Auburn Police Department. My father was a police officer and they were calling in all of the force.

I recall my father saying "The lights are out from Buffalo to Boston". He left for work a few minutes later.

I also recall that shortly after that my grandparents arrived carrying lit candles as they entered the house. I later learned from hearing my mother re-tell the story that she had called them and asked them to come over with candles as we had none.

I don't recall how long the lights were out but I do remember that they came back on before I was sent to bed and I felt very important when I was the one to discover that a lamp in the livingroom (everyone was sitting in the kitchen) had come back on and I brought my grandmother in to show it to her.

In later years I also learned that my mother was sure that it was caused by the Russians and that we were under attack.

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

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
No

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
No

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

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #195, The Blackout History Project, 17 March 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/195/>.
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