The Man Who Dug The Well For Me

Matt Coddington
MDI Contributor

This is a story about a man who dug a well and loved me. His name was Joseph. He was born in 1907 in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Joseph went to school, but in those days high school and certainly college was not a given as it is today for the average person. It was a different United States than what we have now. He may have gone through elementary school and graduated prior to going to work, but that is uncertain because many community records in those days are spotty at best.

Joseph had rough Irish uncles who taught him things, for better or worse, and sometimes not so nicely. The family owned a shoe store in Torrington, and when Joseph needed shoes, the heels were cut off of the Victorian women’s shoes and given to him to wear. Joseph once shoved a plate of mashed potatoes into one of his uncle’s face to shut the man up at the breakfast table.

Joseph was given music lessons and became a drummer. He played professionally in the 1920’s and in the Army in Hawaii in the 1930’s. He ran booze over the US and Canadian border during prohibition in the 1920’s driving a Model T. He drove a cab and owned part of a bowling alley in Santa Barbara. He was a PGA golf instructor in Ojai. He became a machinist for General Motors during World War II. He became a Teamster driving trucks and delivering bread for Weber’s and Four-S bakeries out of Glendale, California.

He married Billie Ruth in 1960, became a stepfather to Linda and Philip, and then a 54-year-old father to Matthew.

Joseph passed away at the age of 73 in South San Francisco on Father’s Day in 1980.

Matthew is me. Joseph was my dad. 

I appreciate and understand what it means to be a hard-working man and an American. That’s the water my dad put in the well that he built for me. And that is what I drink from.

My goal as your leader within MDI and as Division Coordinator of the San Diego Men’s Division is to build a well for all of my men.

I also want all of my men to dig a well and give another man a drink of water.

2 thoughts on “The Man Who Dug The Well For Me”

  1. Thanks Gaul. Indeed he did. At the Pacific Regional this year, I was told that my dad is looking at my life through my eyes. My dad somehow knows all of my achievements, struggles, and failures. Like he’s looking through binoculars and watching what has and is happening. I remember learning that men are either like their fathers or just the opposite. I don’t know why, but I’m like my dad.

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