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Contributed by: Steve J. Murray
Contributed on: August 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?
I was 11 years old when the 65 blackout happened. I was in the living room watching TV, when the TV went out and the lights began to slowly fade to black. I thought there was something wrong with me medically- I thought I was dieing. I was home alone, as my mother and two sisters were not home from work yet. My oldest sister was stuck between two subway stations and had to walk the tracks to get home. I remember going to the A&P market and people were buying candles. As my sister did the same, I remember running into friends and we all said, "this is cool." I don't remember what happened to my mother and other sister, but I do know that deep down inside I was a scared little kid. I sure was glad my sister made it home that night, because I don't know what I would have done without her the night the lights went out.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Too much demand.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
It's just part of living.

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 I was a kid experiencing a grown up problem.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
I was afraid.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Wow!!!

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Mass confusion and fear.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
I already thought they were a negligent co.

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?
No effect / same reliance

Cite as: Steve J. Murray, Story #282, The Blackout History Project, 17 August 2003, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/282/>.
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