TRIMMING wicks. Washing lamp chimneys. Reading by dim and flickering light. For our forefathers it would have been business as usual. For Americans in 1985 it is definitely unusual.
But in the wake of the hurricane downing of power lines, several hundred- thousand Easterners have been catapulted, temporarily, back to their grandparents' era. In the process they have gained increased respect for their progenitors.
Daily existence without electricity, Americans of the late 20th century are learning, can be difficult and time consuming. Evening tasks, for instance, take longer to accomplish without a bright, electric glow.
The process of restoring all electric service, by its nature, is painstakingly slow. Despite some grumbling Americans generally are taking it with good grace, waiting for the moment they can say to the absent one: ``Welcome home, Reddy Kilowatt!''