March 14, 2013
A couple years ago I created a True West Moment for the Arizona Republic that featured a guy I remembered growing up with who was known as "Low Pants Vance."
At least that's how I remembered it. After this ran I got a call from a guy who told me I must have been thinking of, not Vance, but "Low Pants Janc." The lightbulb went off. Yes, that is the name! I knew it didn't sound quite right, but the rhyme was so great (plus none of my Kingman compadres could remember either name, so there you go). Anyway, here's Jerry's annual photo from 1958:
And here's my take on him from memory:
Daily Whipout #416, "The Legend of Low Pants Janc"
Now, the story gets even better. According to the caller, Jerry died young from drinking, but he married someone who has become a very successful author:
"My ambitions to become a writer were frustrated in college and later, first because the professor who taught creative writing at the University of Arizona in those days thought girls 'ought to be teachers or nurses' rather than writers. After he refused me admission to the program, I did the next best thing: I married a man who was allowed in the program that was closed to me. My first husband imitated Faulkner and Hemingway primarily by drinking too much and writing too little. Despite the fact that he was allowed in the creative writing program, he never had anything published either prior to or after his death from chronic alcoholism at age forty-two. That didn’t keep him from telling me, however, that there would be only one writer in our family, and he was it."