Ada Cantavero, who ran a little candy store in Riverside forever, has finally died at 88. Funny, but Ada seemed ancient in 1960, when I was just 7, and then seemed to stop aging. When my brother Gideon called with the sad news my first question was, “how old was she?” “104″, he replied, and I actually believed him. But she was great.
When I was a kid, penny candy really cost a penny and there was nothing worse than being stuck behind some rich kid with a buck to spend, calling out his selections one by one. Most of us had a nickle or maybe a dime to spare, so the line usually moved quickly, but if I bear any resentment toward the rich, it probably originated here.
Ada would let us hang out on her front porch but any misbehavior risked at least a temporary banishment, a terrible threat that kept us in line. When kids had trouble at home – a divorce, drunken dad, whatever – she’d comfort them and cheer them up and provide a refuge. A heck of a woman and one who seemed to remember all of her kids, no matter how much time passed. I stopped by maybe five years ago to say hello 25-30 years since my last visit and she greeted me, “Hi, Bobby!”. Bob is my older brother, but the fact that she could place me in the right family was amazing. Riverside has lost a wonderful institution.
More on moderate housing
Something many of us don’t know (I certainly didn’t, anyway) is that what used to be called an “elderly conversion unit” – a separate apartment with kitchen – and which could be built and occupied only if at least one of the occupants of either the main house or the apartment was over 62, was changed to the term “accessory housing” and now permits occupancy by tenants of “moderate income”. I don’t know what the income guidelines are for this exception (it’s adjusted from time to time) nor whether it applies, as does the age requirement, to either the main house or just the apartment, but a call to the Zoning Board (call Town Hall at 622-7700 and ask for Zoning or go to the town’s website and enter “accessory housing” into the search feature) will answer those questions. Yes, I’m still working on links here – a new project I’m involved with may soon provide an entire website entirely devoted to Greenwich news, opinion, neighborhood association news, etc., so if I’m going to be changing formats, …) In any event, from what I’m told, teachers, firefighters or policemen would probably qualify as moderate income. Any one of those groups could provide a nice pool of good tenants. You could make some decent money, have live-in security and know that you’re doing your small part to provide additional housing in Greenwich, all with the town’s blessing. Not a bad deal.