Monday, May 08, 2006

Treasures of Cambridge #10 Treasures of Cambridge #10

Be a part of "Treasures of Cambridge". If you are a resident of the Cambridge, NY area, please contact me by email at to schedule a time of your convenience to have your portrait taken. Bring a prop that you identify yourself with. Check out the posting "About Cambridge Treasures" on this blog for more about the project. It is a lot of fun and takes on average about 15 minutes of your time.

Gerry Holzman pictured in front of the vault in the former Bean Head’s Coffee House has lived in Cambridge on and off since 1989.

When asked how he made his way to Cambridge, he replied, "My car, quite literally, my car!" He was driving on his way to Saratoga Springs and found a shortcut through Cambridge. "I got to about the railroad tracks and I did a classic Hollywood double-take. I said to my wife, "What a lovely little village", and we turned around in the Hotel parking lot, went back to Route 22 and drove even slower through town”. They went immediately to a real estate office and stayed overnight at the Rice Mansion to look at houses the next day. The following spring they came back and found the home that they live in today.

Gerry loves Cambridge because, "there is so much here, so much potential and so many wonderful people doing wonderful things". Gerry grew up in Armenia, NY, and likes the feel of a small town, says it makes him feel "his youth again."

Gerry’s props are a carved walking stick and a tee shirt with the Empire State Carousel logo on it. As a woodcarver, Gerry refers to pieces like the walking stick as his "frustration pieces". Whenever he has difficulty with the politics or economics of a project, he retreats to his workshop grabs a piece of cherry or maple and carves a face. Carving to him is completely absorbing as he forgets about his troubles focusing on the task at hand.

A retired public school administrator, Gerry got tired of the bureaucracy and wanted to do something with his hands that he wouldn’t have to depend on others for his success or failure, so began to teach himself how to carve. Five years later, he went to England and studied with master carver, Gino Masero, who taught him traditional carving practices. He fondly remembers Masero as a teacher and a friend and once wrote an essay about him where he envisioned that only his hands came to work one day, "because they themselves were so powerful and competent".

His career includes having carved the Empire State Carousel that became a featured news story on Tom Brokaw’s national news program. Gerry would like to be remembered as "a person who has brought some joy into a world that is too often sad".


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