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Contributed by: AmyParravano
Contributed on: January 20, 2016

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 in high school at home with my parents we were having supper...light& Tv radio....ect...everything went black! We thought aliens invaded or maybe President Johnson issused a Civil Defense alert & we should be heading for a fallout shelfter! We were afraid.....phone didn't work either no cellphones then... dad had a kerosene lamp & mom few votives candles....

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Power line broke or the Suschwahanna power boxed exploded!

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Over loaded crossed wires???

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1965 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Because as a teenager I thought now this is what it was like during Abe Lincolns time....no electrical power.....things that were we took for granted as flipping a light switch were suddenly halted by loss of power!

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It affected me by appreciating more of that what we had rely on electricity and without it..would be difficult to do things on daily basis

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I was really surprised how far it happened from Canada all along NewEngland & New York...people trapped in elevators...pretty scary!

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
It was pretty big blackout time much longer...there was no weather problems to cause it to happen as well.....

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
None....thought they would have to figure out why it happened & how to fix it as well at that time...

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

If yes, please explain:
Yes the larger meaning is that we should never take for granted man made elements especially electricity.....be very difficult to live with out it

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

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

If other, please specify:
we had to use candles & flashlights & kerosene lamps.....

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:
Somewhat because I read that in the newspaper several days later...I was curious as to why people would do that in the dark take stuff but be afraid to do so in the daylight or when the power would go back on

Cite as: AmyParravano, Story #2215, The Blackout History Project, 20 January 2016, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2215/>.
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