Johnny McCabe was born in 1935, in Machias, Maine. When he turned one, his family moved to Florida. By the time he was three, both of his parents had died. Johnny began his conscious life in an orphanage in South Carolina.
When he was twelve, Johnny hitched rides from the orphanage to Florida to visit his sister. She returned him to the orphanage. The next year, he hitched rides to Philadelphia to visit his brother. The brother also returned Johnny to the orphanage.
Johnny finally “escaped” the orphanage when he was fifteen. He spent almost a year hitching rides with long-distance truck drivers. At seventeen, he joined the military. While AWOL from the Air Force, Johnny committed a civilian crime and spent time in a civilian jail, followed by time in a military stockade. The Air Force kicked him out with an undesirable discharge.
At the age of nineteen, Johnny began his recovery. With the help of a U.S. congressman, he rejoined the Air Force, changed his first name to Jack and eventually earned an Honorable Discharge. Jack credits two men with helping him overcome his troublesome start: his brother and his brother-in-law. Their actions guided Jack’s recovery. His story provides a glimpse of a more innocent time in America.