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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: March 16, 2006

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 a nine year old girl living in Allston, MA. Our family was living in a two family house on Everett Street. I remember playing with a new toy that my parents had just bought me, The Easy Bake Oven and I was right in the middle of insert a pan into the oven when the lights when out. My mom came over an unpluged the oven because she thought it caused ta fuse to blow...boy I blew a BIG fuse. This was the first time I could remember having the lights go out ever! A few minutes later we had heard on a battery operated radio that there was a major outage and at that time they were trying to pinpoint the source. Boy that would be one time I wouldn't forget.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Both my Mom and I htought it was me Easy Bake Oven that blew a fuse in the house we were living in at the time.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
An overload or a connstant strain on the power girds.

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

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
This was the first time anything like this happened to me or my family and the length of which it occured.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
As a small child with a younger brother, it was really scary because we really never had experience anything like this before. After that my mother was quite prepared to handle this type of situation.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
That these things happen for other purposes other than war or natural diasters.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
I have experience another one were I live now, it was due to weather. My family knew how to deal with this. I have every thing ready incase it happens.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I can't remember the 1977 incident, the 1965 was a major happening in my life. 1965 in was a young girl...when you are in the dark and at the age...you think of alot of bad things.

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

If yes, please explain:
Well at the time the relationship we had with other naitons of the world. I did think for a moment that maybe we were under attack.

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

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 would be under the assumpiton that this might be true. That in 1965 it was the first time a major event like this happened, took alot of people off guard. At the time people were not about "themshelfs" but were willing to help out others.
In 1977 more minorities, more people maybe really didn't care or they just were scared to go out leaving the city in hands poeple who really didn't care...about people or property.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #525, The Blackout History Project, 16 March 2006, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/525/>.
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