I don’t think that thunderstorms were really any different when I was kid. I’m sure they weren’t any different scientifically, unless the air’s carbon content really has shot up that much. But I don’t remember the science channel saying anything about carbon playing a particularly large role in the process of electricity in clouds.
What was different was the amount of time it took for the power to come back on after it went out. As I recall, it would go off relatively suddenly and not come back on for a good 10 or so hours, maybe longer. But if it went out in the afternoon (which it often did) you could bank on it being out until you went to bed that night.
The first response to this would be to pull out the Monopoly board because that game, to the best of my knowledge, has never been successfully executed in any less than 5 hours. My mom would always be banker, I’d always distribute the houses and hotels (construction included), my brother would hoard the properties and my dad would be happy not to have a million little cards or pieces of plastic scattered in front of him. We played with the loose rules where you could make deals with people i.e. ‘I’ll let you buy this property from me if you let me land on it for free after you build hotels’. There would be arguments, underhanded swindling, and a variety of other activities only available to those taking the game way too seriously. My brother would almost always win. And reliably, by that time, it’d be getting dark.
So we’d put the board away, gather up the flashlights and candles and other supplies, and settle in for my father’s ghost stories. He had a small collection of some of the creepiest stories I ever heard. Creepy because of his voice, the dim light of the candles bouncing around the corners of the room and messing with the shadows, and the fact that he swore up and down that they were all 100% true. I could remember being wrapped in apprehension as he neared the end- which never changed regardless of how many times he told it, but still managed to scare the crap out of me.
Then with the lights out and likely to stay that way until after we’d fallen asleep and vague visions of undead Russians coming to get me I’d settle into my parents' bed (my favorite retreat after scary movies and the like) and snuggle into to sleep.