A Cup of Joe, with Joe

12 Nov, 2012

by Jenna Kashou

Pin It

If you’ve ever been in the lobby lounge during the day, you’ve surely seen Joe drinking coffee.

Smartly dressed – dapper even. His black plastic comb is neatly tucked into his shirt pocket. He loves to dance and insists he convinced Mr. Marcus to keep a section of the original tile floor in the lobby lounge for dancing. He reads two newspapers everyday; “Well, it depends on the day. And sometimes, I only get to the headlines,” he concedes.

Joe Charney in repose…

Joe Charney is a storyteller through and through. In our 40-minute conversation I learned about the diamond business – from industrial diamonds used in WWII to the De Beers empire. I learned about his meeting with Santiago Calatrava and his parents’ neighbors’ daughter, who made the movie The Terminator.

He told it like this: “Hurd was the guy’s name that lived next door. He had a daughter. She was an enigma. A scrappy, skinny little thing that picked a fight over anything. He called up one day and said that his daughter  had made a movie and I thought what morbid thing could she ever create. Turns out it was a blockbuster – The Terminator. I was really surprised.”

He’s still pretty sharp. He must be in his 70s, though he tells me he’s 200. “I’ve been coming here for over 50 years – before Ben Marcus bought the place!” Joe declares. He likes the ambience and meeting people from around the world. He compares it to the Waldorf Astoria in New York, “It’s a place where the biggest names in business meet, where the hustlers and the swingers and the doers come together.”

The “dance floor”

I asked how he’s seen it change. “Less travel among salespeople and CEOs – probably because of  video conferencing and restricted budgets,” he offers.

Joe suggested the story of the day that I should tell is the aftermath of the election. “Let’s not get into politics,” I suggest.

Just as quickly as he brings it up, he digresses: “You know, the best things in life are either illegal, immoral or fattening.”  His wisdom is as brilliant as his stories.

 

Pin It

About the author

Jenna Kashou

A Milwaukee native and freelance writer, Kashou has published in local publications such as Milwaukee Magazine, M Magazine and the Shepherd Express. Find her weekly adventures of city life as MilwaukeeMag.com's ‘Girl About Town.’ Kashou earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in mass communications and Spanish, and a graduate certificate in digital storytelling from Marquette University. By day, she is a grant writer for Radio Milwaukee and has worked in the nonprofit sector in arts and education for 10 years. In her spare time, she enjoys dabbling in everything from being a DJ and photography to do-it-yourself deco, yoga and rock climbing.

Related Posts

UA-9982141-2
health information technology salary buy azithromycin online no prescription wells fargo dealer services doxycycline wells fargo center seat map viagra