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Center seeks pandemic coping stories

WARREN — The Local History and Genealogy Center is seeking stories from area residents and businesses about what they faced during the coronavirus pandemic, to be saved for public viewing and for future generations.

The goal of the project is to create a lasting record of how people have been living, working and coping during COVID-19. Submissions will become part of the archives of the library.

Elizabeth Glasgow, the center’s supervisor, said a Trumbull Memory Project has been in place for several years. It started with people submitting their written memories, stories and photos of the May 1985 tornado that went through part of Trumbull County, especially Newton Falls. That portion is the largest.

She said in 2013 it was expanded with photographs from the center’s collection.

“We received many submissions from the public from their memories of the tornado. We are now asking for submissions from people of their memories and stories of the pandemic,” Glasgow said. “The people of Trumbull County have been very willing to submit their memories and stories.”

Glasgow said the pandemic memory project began mid-2020.

“At that time, the pandemic was very overwhelming for a lot of people. Now people have had a chance to reflect on what they went through. Big changes occurred in their lives. They had changes in their own lives, where they worked and how their business survived, where they went to church, how their children went to school, or even the loss of a family member during the pandemic. We hope to get a nice collection that covers a nice variety of things in the community,” she said.

Glasgow said people can share many different scenarios of dealing with the pandemic.

There will be a website page beginning with “Documenting Life During the Pandemic.”

She said future generations and historians will be able to read the stories and see how people adapted.

“We have received many submissions on loss of a family member. We received memories of when the schools and many places were closed,” she said.

A form is available online for people to fill out and write in their own words. Questions vary from what working at home was like; how did people experience major milestones in their lives such as weddings, funerals and graduations; what are some long-term consequences of the pandemic; and what was the first thing people did when the stay at home order was lifted.

Glasgow said the pandemic is not over, so she expects submissions to come in for some time.

She said the pandemic affected the Local History and Genealogy Center as staff was laid off and she worked from home for several months.

From March to October, the center was closed. She came back Oct. 5, working with the public on an appointment basis.

She said many businesses were affected and faced challenging times during the pandemic.

“There were businesses that did not survive, and many that did — but it was difficult for them,” Glasgow said.

She said memories were sad from family members of people in assisted living or nursing homes who were not able to see their loved ones, who later died.

She said the library staff was worried about the patrons who stopped regularly, but they did not get to see for months.

“We got to know them. They talked about their families,” she said.

For information call 330-399-8807, Ext. 202.

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