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St. Augustine Historical Society collects your COVID-19 stories for future generations

Project coordinator: "Your stories are our history."

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — What will future generations look back and know about this pandemic?

It depends on what we leave for them. The St. Augustine Historical Society is collecting your COVID-19 stories for historical purposes.

It's an online survey, with space to write out your experiences. You can also share photos, art, and videos. They will be compiled and kept in the historical society's archives for researchers and the public. 

Pat Balanzategui submitted her experiences. 

"I thought, you know what … I’m going to tell what I’m doing," Balanzategui told First Coast News. 

She lives in St. Augustine. She's been reading and putting together jigsaw puzzles. 

She said, "I’m looking for the day I can actually give somebody a hug."

Her friends have stopped by and kept their distance in the yard, but human touch is missing.

See, Balanzategui is alone. Her husband died in November.

This spring, Easter Sunday was tough.

Balenzategui remembers "I was watching church."

Her church – St. Cyprian's Episcopal -- had started posting virtual services on YouTube.

"Mama Blue was there as the soloist that day," Balanzategui recalled. "She's so good. She was singing that Hallelujah song." 

"While she was singing, they turned the camera around," Balanzategui said, "and Father Ted had put up everyone’s picture in the pews. So I looked and saw that church full of people and the tears just fell."

Balanzategui missed her friends. 

She missed her husband.  

It’s experiences like this that the historical society wants to document.

Jeanette Vigliotti is the Digital Media Specialist at the St. Augustine Historical Society. She told First Coast News, "We want to capture what it is like right now for our community with the understanding it is going to look different for different populations and different segments of our community."

She added, "Your stories are our history."

To learn more about the project and submit your story, click here.

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