Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthday, Blackout, and Berlin

Every year, my birthday falls on a very important day in history, Nov. 9. Besides my immaculate conception, it is also the day of the Northeast Blackout and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. 

The Blackout of 1965 was historic in that it affected such a wide area: from Ontario, Canada throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey. Over 30 million people were left without electricity for up to 12 hours. We were living in Darien, Connecticut, and my paternal grandparents, Eddie and Frida Ambrose, were babysitting us for several weeks while my mother joined my father on his business trip to India. We were planning on having something truly yummy for dinner (I’m just sure of it) but without an oven or stove we munched on cold sandwiches by candlelight. It wasn’t long before my grandparents slipped into their native Norwegian tongue to talk in private, as they always did. They must have been worried, but my brothers and I thought it was very exciting. Not to mention, there was still cake!

Skip ahead twenty-four years, George H.W. Bush is in office, and I can still remember watching the live coverage of East Germany opening its borders to the West for the first time since the Berlin Wall was built. People were scaling the Wall, celebrating, and toppling chunks of concrete and stone onto the ground. I was living in NYC at the time, getting ready to make the big move to Massachusetts, in awe that another historic event was taking place on my birthday. There's a great short documentary on the Berlin Wall in the public domain if you want to see what life was like back then. It certainly puts our lives today into perspective.


  1. Sarah, I've given you the One Lovely Blog Award. For details please visit to learn more about it and get the badge. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  2. Thanks Bill, I'm excited to join the family of geneabloggers and will check out your site.

    Thank you Cathy, what a nice surprise. I will check it out now!