The Family's Core
When you are smack in the middle of a family of nine children, you could, understandably, have a rough time getting attention.
Or, you could not.
Charles Garbarini's siblings would clear the coffee table so he could leap up and entertain them. He even had his sister Janet fooled into thinking that if she washed the family's dinner dishes while he just sat and talked to her, she had it good. "Nobody gets out of more work than I do!" Charley Garbarini, 44, would shout, even as a Fire Department lieutenant.
By her own admission, Andrea DeGeorge, whom Lieutenant Garbarini married after a decade-long engagement, was the source of his best material. Parodying her New Age-like interests, he wrote a monologue about a woman much like her who tells her husband that their new house in Westchester requires "a $10,000 deck so I can meditate and keep in touch with my lack of needs."
A softie at heart for all his wisecracking, Lieutenant Garbarini would march Dylan, now 5, and Philip, 3, into their Pleasantville, N.Y., home bearing flowers from the A.&P. for their mother.
He was a proud if sardonic professional. His business card read: "Firefighter Charley Garbarini. You light 'em, we fight 'em."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 22, 2002.