Late one night, when I was almost four years old, I remember being awake in bed, listening to my father talk downstairs in the living room. “I want to wake him up to see this. He’ll probably never have a chance to see anything like this again.” My mother wanted me to stay in bed. She knew that if I got up, I wouldn’t go back to sleep.
A few minutes later, my father looked into my room. I sat up in bed to let him know that I was awake. “Shhhhh,” he said, “don’t wake your brother.” Patrick was only one, and too young for whatever we were about to do. “Put on your shoes and your coat, let’s go outside.”
The sky was filled with stars. Beautiful bright stars set off against a black autumn night. It was November 9, 1965, the night of the Great Blackout. There was no electricity anywhere in New York or most of the New England states. We lived in Waterbury, Connecticut, and on this night, without any lights to spoil the view, my dad and I looked at the stars.