Appalachian Wednesday–Who Needs Electricity?

oil lampOur power was out for 14 hours yesterday. That would be on a day that went from -1 to a balmy high of 23. When the power was finally restored it was 47 degrees INSIDE the house. Not fun.

But somehow, when I think back to power outages when I was a kid–they were a total blast! And that was when we lived on a somewhat remote farm in the mountains of West Virginia where we were often the LAST house to have electricity restored.

But when the power went out all kinds of cool stuff happened. Dad would build a fire in the fireplace and Mom would let us camp out in sleeping bags in the living room floor. We could play cards by lantern and candle light and we didn’t have to take baths. It was awesome.

We talked, laughed, told stories, slept, ate, and roasted marshmallows in the fireplace. We didn’t have much in the way of electronics to begin with, but for those precious hours there was nothing to distract us from, well, living.

I’m SO glad the power is back on. But every once in a while I think it might be a good thing to shut the power off and just be. Maybe on a day that’s a little warmer than -1.

11 thoughts on “Appalachian Wednesday–Who Needs Electricity?

  1. My family lived a simple life growing up, and it wasn’t unusual for the power to go off in our rural area during winter or summer storms. I don’t remember doing anything out of the ordinary when this happened. We didn’t have AC and watched little TV, so it didn’t impact us like it would kids today. But my kids loved when the power would go out. With nothing else to do, we played board games and card games. It was great family time.

  2. We lost power on Monday for 6 whole hours. Literally the second it went out, Zachary, King of the Worst Case Scenario, said, “Will this be for TEN DAYS?!?!?!?” Poor kid. I think he almost burst into tears when the lights came on.
    Several years ago, a vast amount of the Eastern Seaboard lost power, and people HAD to help each other. Many people said it re-awakened that neighbourly spirit that had gone by the wayside. Oh, and there was also a sort of newsworthy baby boom, about 9 months after the outage.

  3. Buffy White

    I can’t help but notice that your memories are from a kid’s point of view. Sure it was fun–something different. But for the parents it’s a little more of a challenge, making sure that the kids, the animals, and, if you’re a grower with a greenhouse full of plants, those seedlings, are taken care of. The kids aren’t thinking about all that food thawing in the freezer, and making sure the toilets flush! And you’re quite right, the warmer months are best for this kind of thing.

  4. Yes–I think in that 10-day power outage we had after the WV derecho, I was definitely more on the mom’s side of the picture. I still have one child who looks forward to power outages (I think it’s the running around the house w/flashlights!), but after about day three, I think the outage lost its luster for adults (and you could hear the tempers flaring on the only radio station covering it). I think the most distressing thing in the rural area is that we didn’t get much media attention or help. Meanwhile, when NYC went down, the whole world knew! Ha. It’s not something I ever want to go through again, but I did get a really good taste of what dystopian society could be like–and how it could get really bad in a hurry, with people who don’t know how to get food or survive w/out electricity!

    1. (But I should add that I saw one beautiful thing in a rural area outage–people come together to help each other. We share food, we chop fallen trees, we survive! Why I’m thankful to be a rural girl).

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