, 2022-11-03 05:00:09,
In the 1970s, my father, Jean Claude Garofoli, was a bit of a local celebrity businessman in Hamilton. He had long black, permed hair, and while the other dads wore brown suits and striped ties, mine rocked bell-bottom jeans and T-shirts and rode a motorcycle. He was nearly an alchemist. He could turn nothing into something by packaging clever storytelling and slick salesmanship.
Dad owned a shopping plaza with a car dealership and a well-known furniture store called Garfunkel Furniture where he financed colour televisions, stereo equipment, and appliances.
Somewhere along the way, Dad became a gemologist, selling jewelry for cash as a side hustle. He had a certificate from the “Gemology Institute of America” on the wall behind his desk.
He went by the moniker Funky Garfunkel in his advertising campaigns. In addition to running his businesses, he worked as a concert promoter. He brought acts like Pink Floyd, Johnny Mathis, Paul Anka and Bob Hope to town.
I grew up with my parents, and my older sister and brother in Grimsby.
Our home was filled with museum pieces — shrunken heads and Egyptian artifacts. My dad once casually noted, “If you needed to hide money, put it in art, jewels, or antiques. Cops don’t know the difference between a child’s finger painting and a Van Gogh. You can cross the border with a mill in jewels. Just wear them on your neck.”
My schoolmates’ fathers clock-punched at steel mills or worked in offices. Mine came and went with the…
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