Connecting the Dots in the Dark

Oct 25, 2015 | 3 comments

Helen and Harry Espy, 1947 - Painting by Hilda Cole Espy

Helen and Harry Espy, 1947 – Painting by Hilda Cole Espy

The power went out shortly before ten last night. We had been home for about an hour from a South Bend birthday party, having a cup of tea and trying to decide whether to watch a couple of TV episodes or… Suddenly the decision was made for us and we were locating flashlights and turning off whatever we could remember was on.

I always love those first few minutes of a power outage. I immediately lose seventy or seventy-five years and I’m here in the dark in this familiar old house with my beloved Granny and Papa. Papa always had a flashlight at hand, just as he always had slicker, sou’wester and hip boots nearby. I’m sure we didn’t think of it as ‘being prepared.’ We weren’t yet used to having electricity; it had only come to Oysterville the year I was born and it wasn’t even close to reliable – winter or summer – for a good many years.

Sunrise on Willapa Bay, 1947

Sunrise on Willapa Bay, 1947

I think it’s the quiet, rather than the dark, that takes me back all those years. So very quiet! No refrigerator hum or heat pump coming on or any of the white noise that we take for granted and tune out. It’s a lot like going out on a cloudless night here in Oysterville and seeing the stars without the interfering ambient light of ‘civilization,’ It puts you in tune with your ancestors.

Of course, we wondered what the trouble was and how long it would last. As we had driven homeward a few minutes previously, we had been diverted at Cranberry Road. We could see many flashing lights ahead but couldn’t tell exactly what was going on. We assumed an accident and hoped everyone was all right. Forty minutes or so later, when everything went dark and quiet, our assumption was that someone had hit a transformer.

We’re still ‘in the dark’ about the cause, but the power came on about 5:30 this morning – just in time for our second cup of coffee. I wished I could offer a cup to the men who were on the job all night so that our day would be bright (and noisy) and operating as usual! They are definitely the unsung heroes of the Peninsula on this cool October Sunday morning!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    As long as it is not blistering cold, I don’t mind power outages and my middle son used to say I might remove the power from our Ilwaco home altogether. Of course we still had wood heat and there may have been something to what he said!

  2. Kathleen Shaw

    Yes, our PUD folks are truly wonderful.

  3. Skyler Walker

    The saddest thing about a power outage for me, other than the concern that people might lose valuable frozen food, is hearing neighbors powering up their noisy generators. Silence is the best thing about the power being out.


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