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Contributed by: JUDITH A SENNING
Contributed on: March 27, 2009

Which blackout(s) did you experience?
Both

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?
THE FIRST TIME WERE LIVING ON CLARENDON ROAD IN BROOKLYN NEW YORK.. MY DAD PICKED ME UP FROM SCHOOL AT SAINT JEROMES, THEN HEADED OUT TO THE GRACE BEAUTY SCHOOL IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN TO PICK MY MOM UP..WE HEADED HOME..MOM STARTED COOKING DINNER..WE HAD GAS BOTH HEAT AND TO COOK WITH.. IT WAS FRENCH FRIES..A VEGGIE AND STEAK!! I FINISHED MY HOMEWORK..THE LIGHTS STARTED FADING THEN BOOM!! TOTAL DARKNESS!! WE ATE DINNER BY CANDLELIGHT.. I REMEMBER SITTING ON THE STEPS IN THE FOYER WITH MY LATE GRANDFATHER AND AUNT LISTENING TO THEM TELL STORIES ABOUT HOW THEY HAD CANDLELIGHT AND BEFORE THAT THEIR PARENTS LIVED BY GAS LIGHT!! MY LATE FATHERS WORDS CRACKED EVERYONE UP.."THE PICKPOCKETS MUST BE HAVING A FEAST TONIGHT!" CLARENDON ROAD WAS COLD AND DARK AND VERY EERIE THAT NIGHT!! I REMEMBER MY TEACHER MRS. RYAN REMARKING ABOUT HOW INDUSTRIOUS THOSE OF US WHO HAD DONE OUR HOMEWORK WERE!! ONLY EXCITEMENT?? MY MOM HAD A CANDLE ON A DOUBLE LEVEL TABLE..IT STARTED TO BURN!!! DAD PUT IT OUT AND THEN THEY WENT BACK TO PLAYING CARDS!! HA!! -- THE SECOND WAS AWFUL!! I WAS HOME THAT NIGHT AND WAS GLAD BOTH MY MOM AND DAD WERE ALSO!! WE HAD ELECTRICITY AND AIR CONDITIONING BECAUSE WE HAD LILCO ON NASSAU COUNTY JUST NO TV.. BOTH MY PARENTS HEADED OUT VERY EARLY THE NEXT MORNING TO BROOKLYN TO CHECK UP ON BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS--THEIR BIGGEST WORRY.. THEY CALLED BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS THROUGHOUT THE NITE WARNING THEM NOT TO LEAVE THEIR APARTMENT OR EVEN ANSWER THEIR DOORBELL!!!

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
WE LIVE IN A POWER HUNGRY OVER LOADING SOCIETY!! THESE POWER STATIONS AND GRIDS CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH!!!

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
OVER USE OVER USE OVER USE!!

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
1965 BROUGHT US TOGETHER..I MISS THAT SAFE FEELING I HAD AS A CHILD..1977 WAS A DISGRACE DUE TO ANIMALISTIC IMBECILES!!! FRIGHTENING FOR ALL OF US, WHO HAD RELATIVES IN BROOKLYN AND QUEENS THAT NIGHT..

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO CONSERVE POWER NOW, MORE THAN EVER..

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
IN 1965 MY PERCEPTION AS A YOUNG CHILD WAS FILLED WITH WORRY THEN CALMNESS..THE NEWS ABOUT IT CAME OVER SEVERAL OLD TRANSISTOR RADIOS THAT MY HUSBAND AND I STILL HAVE!! IN 1977 WE HAD RADIOS ONCE AGAIN COVERING IT..THIS TIME MUCH MORE FRIGHTENING AND DISTURBING!!

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
NORMAL ONE DUE TO SEVERE STORMS USUALLY ARE SHORTER IN DURATION..

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
I WAS VERY YOUNG SO I DID NOT REALLY HAVE AN OPINION

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

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:
YES AS I MENTIONED BEFORE..

Cite as: JUDITH A SENNING, Story #2166, The Blackout History Project, 27 March 2009, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2166/>.
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