By Kate Irwin
Amy Brown has lived all over the world, yet she decide to settle down in the small city of Grinnell in the middle of Iowa.
Brown has only been a resident of Grinnell for six years since she accepted a position at Burling Library with the College, but in that time she has become very involved with the community and watched the town develop before her.
“Grinnell seems to be like one of the lucky towns,” Brown said. “when we moved here in 2011, we had driven through other places where there were a lot of things closed … but I noticed Grinnell had a lot of shops open.”
Brown values her ties with the community. She aims to shop local to support the townspeople. She is currently a member of the local quilting guild, an activity that helped her make friends and have an immediate connection to the town when she first moved to Grinnell.
Grinnell’s quick connections and neighborly attitudes resonate with Brown. “If you need anything, someone knows somebody,” Brown said.
Brown grew up in a military family and has lived all over the country and the world.
“I came to Iowa in ninth grade. And we picked Iowa because it’s where my mother is from,” Brown said.
Brown then followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the military when she was 18. Ever since she was little, Brown has moved from place to place.
While enlisted in the military, Brown met Jerry, the man she would soon marry. They were married right after Brown’s time in the military was up. Both Brown and her husband knew they wanted kids, and they realized they wanted to raise them in the Midwest. But Brown couldn’t stay settled in one place long, and she knew it was time to move to a new place.
“I had itchy feet because I was so used to moving, even though I was content and had family [close]. Because both my husband and I lived abroad as children, it was really important that we expose our kids to that,” Brown said.
Her children had such a positive experience overseas, so they decided to continue living overseas. Brown notes the positive impact of their international travels, as “it had a profound effect on them.”
Brown wanted her children to be global citizens. “I don’t know if they could have had that if I stayed in Oskaloosa, Iowa,” Brown said.
After their second time in England, Brown felt it was time to move back to the Midwest. Brown was deciding between living in Des Moines or Iowa City, two places with very different atmospheres from Grinnell. “I wanted to be a little bit more close to Target,” Brown added with a laugh.
Brown’s friend from Oskaloosa recommended Grinnell to Brown, mostly because of the College. “[I was told] you’re going to meet people from everywhere, every race, every religion. And that Grinnell was a perfect and [I would] love it,” she said.
Brown made the decision to move to Grinnell without knowing much about the town. After doing research on the College, President Kington and how liberal the school was, Brown knew it was right for her.
Brown began working at Burling in 2012 and she has been working for the college ever since.
“Everything lined up and I was lucky,” says Brown.
Grinnell College has also influenced Brown and her family. Her children were inspired by the small liberal arts school and have attended other private liberal arts colleges.
Moving around has made Brown very open to change. “I know that in five years I could be somewhere else,” she noted. Brown tends to go with the flow and tries to not plan out too much of her future — after all, she may be traveling the world soon.
about the physical environment, having been to a lot of other places. The other plus of Grinnell is actually its location too,” Van Dyke said. “It’s an hour, give or take, to Iowa City, Ames, Des Moines, Cedar Falls for cultural events that you just can’t support in a town this size. It’s not an impossibility to drive an hour and see some of those things.”