Category Archives: A to Z Challenge 2021

Zip Code scares and Zap: A power outage! #AtoZChallenge

Z is for Zip Code scares and Zap: A power outage! Last of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix.

So much of a teenager’s life is in the hands of adults — and that was certainly true for me, my classmates and the kids on my block in the early 1960s.

Even where we lived was up to our parents — and that resulted in some Zip Code scares for many of us during Junior High.

Getting ahead in corporate jobs often required parents, mostly dads back then, to accept transfers to faraway places. So you might bid a classmate goodbye at the end of the school year — then return in the fall to find her gone, through no fault of her own.

https://localhistory.boulderlibrary.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A33893
Part of the IBM complex in Boulder, Colorado (1965-70). Getting ahead in corporate jobs often required parents, mostly dads back then, to accept transfers to faraway places. This resulted in zip code scares for many of us during Junior High. Photo: Boulder Library

“Where’s Sue?” you’d ask.

“Oh, she moved to Boulder, Colorado,” would be the reply.

Boulder was the location of a big IBM complex that many local dads transferred to — and quite a few of my classmates had pen pals there due to these surprise Zip Code changes.

My 1964 Zip Code scare

I arrived in Endwell in 1957 as a result of my dad’s General Electric transfer.

So I was familiar with the discomfort of being the “new kid” in second grade and having to adjust to an unfamiliar town, neighborhood and school.

I was definitely not eager to repeat the experience as a teen — yet according to my diary, a Zip Code change nearly happened when I was 14.

April 18, 1964. We might have to move to Utica! I hope not!

April 19, 1964. We might have to move to Phoenix, Arizona! Ugh! If Dad switches to IBM we can stay here! He wants to stay here, so he may switch! I HOPE SO!! I DON’T WANNA MOVE TO ARIZONA!!!!

Phoenix, Arizona (c. 1965). My Zip Code scare happened in 1964, when my dad was considering moving us to Phoenix, Arizona. I did not want to go — and was relieved when the move did not take place. Photo: Pinterest

In the end, neither move took place and my family remained in Endwell until my freshman year of college — when, alas, my siblings had to suffer the dislocation of moving to Syracuse, N.Y., during grade school and high school.

Zap: A power outage!

As my early teens drew to a close in 1965, a major event dropped the curtain on this phase of my life — and ushered me into my later teens and High School.

That event was the Northeast Power Outage of 1965. The video below shows how it looked in New York City — and we experienced it in Endwell, too.

At 15, I was talking on the phone in our dining room when the lights went out — and I remember looking across the Susquehanna River toward Vestal, which was normally dotted with house lights, to see only inky darkness.

The power outage was unexpected and massive — triggered by some electrical glitch in New York City, then zap New York State and beyond went dark.

Press & Sun Bulletin, Nov. 10, 1965.

And with that, my early teens drew to a close. When the lights came up, daily life resumed — and a couple of months later I turned 16.

Happily, I had survived Junior High and my early teens, and I was headed to High School — where new and different experiences awaited on the road to adulthood.

Congratulations to my fellow A to Z Challenge bloggers and many thanks for joining me on this year’s journey! Please leave a comment, then stop back on May 3 for “Recap and Reflection on Endwell: My Early Teen Years.”

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