Jack's story covers the first twenty-seven years of his life (1935-62). He was born in Maine. His family moved to Florida before he was one year old. Within three years, both of Jack's parents died. Thus, he began life in an orphanage, placed there by his grandmother before he was four. Jack had a rebellious nature and ran away from the institution several times, always hitchhiking. At the age of twelve, his first road trip was for 350 miles to Florida, to visit his oldest sister. After three weeks, she returned him by bus. The next year Jack hitched rides to Philadelphia to visit his older brother, who also returned him to the orphanage.
Jack's restlessness led him to quit school at sixteen and spend a year traveling the road with long-distance truck drivers. At eighteen, he joined the military and then committed a civilian crime while he was absent without leave (AWOL) from the service. Consequently, Jack spent time behind bars, first in a civilian jail then in a military stockade. The military kicked him out with an undesirable discharge.
Jack's memoir is a story of recovery. He credits three men with helping him overcome his poor start in life: his brother, a brother-in-law, and a US congressman. Their actions spoke more loudly than their encouraging words. Jack's story also provides a glimpse of a more innocent time in America.