On the evening of November 9, 1965, I was 12 years old and in 8th grade. I was walking home from a girl friend's house. I had spent the afternoon with her, pounding my "great American novel" out on her typewriter. It was getting dark.
About 5:20 pm I entered my apartment house to find the lights dimming, flickering, and coming back on again.
What I did not know was that a chain reaction power failure had started several minutes before, up in Canada. Like a wave, city after city went dark. Now, in New York City, it was our turn. By the time the chain reaction ended, some 30 million people were in the dark, dependent on a full moon for their light.
An elevator was waiting in the lobby of my apartment building; I made a split second decision not to take it and took the stairs to my 4th floor apartment instead.
A couple of minutes after entering it, my apartment went dark. We were more fortunate than many - growing up Jewish, we had candles - plenty of them, in the house. I had a battery powered radio and, listening to it, gradually realized it wasn't just our neighborhood.
You can experience it as if it was today, thanks to You Tube and this aircheck from WABC radio in New York City.
800,000 people were stuck on the subways- my father was one of them.I was alone with my mother. But it was not a party for me.
By the time our electricity was restored (around 6am the next morning), my life had changed forever. For me, it was one of the darkest nights of my life.
During the blackout, my mother, who had not been in the best of health, died. It is something incredibly hard for me to write about. The echoes of that night still resonate in me, and always will.
But, time does heal. I can face that night better now, through the filter of nostalgia, and writing this blog post is another part of the healing process.
If you enjoy nostalgia, watch the first few minutes of this WNBC news program covering the blackout.
Here is coverage from Canada.
If you are interested in hearing the songs mentioned in the aircheck from WABC radio, here they are:
Up the Lazy River by Si Zentner and his Orchestra
And one song from 1968 that incorporated the blackout into the lyrics - Massachusetts, by the Bee Gees.
Today is day 9 of NaBloPoMo. Use the link and find other blogs you may enjoy reading.