I have always loved the expression “He is such a character!” My Uncle Joe was one of those legendary characters. He owned a bottling company and beer distributorship in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. He was well known throughout the neighborhood and as a parishioner of Saint Josaphat Church (ethnic Polish). Kind and generous was my Uncle Joe. He was a teddy bear of a man…big guy with a heart of gold.
During the time period of the 1930s to 1970s, beer distributors attended an annual meeting in Philly so prices could be set for the year. Some of the meetings could get quite heated. Speaking in his booming voice, Joe was known to be fair and honest. He was never afraid to voice his opinion if someone became what he considered unreasonable.
When I was an adult, my uncle Stan passed away. Joe drove us to the funeral which was a couple of hours away…in his Cadillac. We stopped on the way at a private club so we could freshen up. When we arrived, an employee met us at the door to relate that the club was closed that morning. Uncle Joe boomed out, “Tell Mr. Schmitz that Joe Javie is here!” The gentleman went to tell Mr. Schmitz. When he returned he announced, “Mr. S said to tell Mr. Javie that he and his party are welcome to have any drink or food that they wish.” So, Uncle Joe’s name could open doors.
My Uncle Joe Javie was often called the “Mayor of Manayunk”. Manayunk actually has no mayor since it is a section in Philadelphia. Sometimes, he would get mail addressed to him as the mayor. Of course, he answered and investigated any requests and inquiry!
Joseph John Jaworowski (1913-1992) was born of Polish immigrant parents. He learned the food and beverage business from his parents. At his funeral, hundreds of family and friends gathered to tell their favorite stories about the character of a man, Joe.