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Contributed by: [name withheld]
Contributed on: April 14, 2000

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 just remember the lights going out. That it lasted for a long time and that we sat in the car listening to the radio for the news. I was living in what was then a small rural CT town so it was just my family.We'd gone through power faiures before so it didn't seem like a huge deal at first. When we heard the whole Northeast was out it was a little more scary but since my parents weren't all that concerned wasn't really afraid.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
I remember something about the power grid and Canada but that's about it.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Over consumption, failure to plan on the part of power companies, technological failures.

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

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
I only expereinced 1965 and was only a child. I do recall it being scary but the experience quickly faded in my memory. This is the first time I've even thought about it in a long time.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
No real affect.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
SInce my parents weren't all that concerned I wasn't afraid. I guess we did wonder about it being some bigger plot like Russia invading but after listening to the news our fears were allayed.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
I remember it lasting longer but that's about it.

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
None

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

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 don't remember the 1977 event. In 1965 I was just with my family.

Cite as: Anonymous, Story #55, The Blackout History Project, 14 April 2000, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/55/>.
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