Anna Beth White Gorman
Executive Director, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas
“I lived in Texarkana from the early 1980s, until graduating from College in 2004—When I first was recruited to work in Arkansas, I spent three months training in Texarkana.”
What is your favorite Texarkana memory?
Four States Fair and Rodeo. I would look forward to the fair and rodeo every fall as a child and well into my early adult years. I have been to several other fairs and rodeos and there is something special about ours; none of them compare.
Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana? Any interesting story to tell about that place?
I loved going to Cattleman’s and Park Place for special occasions growing up. For my birthday one year, my family took me to Cattleman’s and after dinner my parents had my brothers catch me one of the feral kittens that lived behind the restaurant. I named her Miss Scamper. But of course, TLC will always be the best Cheeseburger joint in the world, hands down, no competition.
What was the teen hangout when you lived here? Any interesting story to tell about that place?
I feel fortunate to have been a teen before the advent of social media and mass use of cell phones. On the weekends, we would congregate at someone’s house until we couldn’t anymore and then drive the shuffle until we figured out our next destination. You could drive the shuffle a million different times, and it would still feel like you and your friends were on the open road and had all the time in the world. It never got old.
Where was your favorite place to shop in Texarkana? Any interesting story to tell about that place?
I always thought it was cool to go “downtown shopping” with my mom or dad at Skibells and Collins and Williams. I felt like I was stepping back in time when I went. I remember getting my first “formal” at the original Skibells location for a YTeens dance and feeling really grown up.
How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?
The biggest little town in the world. And no matter where you go, you will find a Texarkana connection. I loved growing up in Texarkana and having great memories of my friends, many of whom I am still close with today.
Who is someone from Texarkana who impacted your life and why?
It isn’t one person, but many women from the Conifer Girl Scout Council. Volunteers, Staff, Fellow Girl Scouts—all had a profound impact on my life. I went to college on a Girl Scout Scholarship, my professional career was launched because of the Girl Scouts, I still live the values instilled in me by that organization and will always be grateful to the people who nurtured me in that program.
What do you love about Texarkana?
I love that it is my hometown... that it still feels like my hometown when I visit, that I will run into someone that I know when I go, and it will feel good to catch up with them.
What would you change about Texarkana?
Encourage more economic development downtown.
What words do you live by?
Be an instrument of God’s love. Live every day better than the last.
Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback or Tiger? Do you have a rivalry story to share?
I was a Hawk. My Senior Year of high school I was the president of the student council. Texas High School Student Council President challenged all the high schools to a canned food drive. The principal and I took on this challenge with a personal ambition to collect more canned goods than all the other schools combined. We were successful in our efforts, and when they came to pick up the canned goods, we took a small amount of pleasure in letting them know they would need another truck.
What is your nickname for Texarkana?
TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”