I know how they survived:> They smoked, did projects like quilting or knitting, chopped wood, cooked more difficult meals and read. They had a lot more kids because they probably weren't so stressed out in the bedroom because they were fighting over the remote.
I was without power for a week in December and I nearly went out of my mind-- no vacuum, no washing machine, no dishwasher, only the fire place for heat and 2 kids at home to entertain. It's a good thing my sister's puppies were here or I think my boys and our dog would have been bored out of their minds. Battery powered radio was the only thing we had and I limited that to only a few hours.