Johnny lived on DeSoto Avenue, the busiest street in Clarksdale, MS in the 20's and 30's. He went to the main Catholic church in town St. Elizabeth. Instead of attending school at Clarksdale High School, he and his brothers attended school in the neighboring town of Cleveland. There he attended Cleveland High for three years before leaving to work in his father's butcher shop. He later drove trucks for half a year for the Delta Packaging Company earning $14.oo per week. After that, he took a bus to Jackson, Mississppi where he enlisted on June 10, 1924.