To the editor:
I was saddened to read on Saturday of the death of Charles U. Foley III, a staunch and sometimes fiery advocate for his city and his native neighborhood of Joppa.
Charley served on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority during the turbulent 1970s and ‘80s and I met him when I began covering the NRA as city hall reporter for The Daily News in 1978. He used to joke with me about winning the Pulitzer Prize, which he pronounced Pew-LITZ-er, with the accent on the middle syllable.
Charley was passionate in his likes and dislikes in his opinions about the proposals that came before the NRA. He described one plan as making the waterfront look like “Hong Kong harbor,” and dismissed another design as having all the charm of a “Pennsylvania coal mining town.”
It made Charley crazy when the neighborhood of Joppa — which he defined as lying between Bromfield Street and Bummer’s Rock (at the foot of Rolfe’s Lane) — was referred to in The Daily News as “Joppa Flats.” The flats, he pointed out, were the offshore salt marsh, not the vibrant neighborhood where he grew up.
Whenever the “Joppa Flats” mistake occurred, he would come barreling into the newsroom to hold me personally responsible for the error.
Once (in an incident unrelated to Joppa Flats) I wrote something with which Charley vehemently disagreed and he showed up on my doorstep to protest — not to intimidate me but because his hearing loss made it impossible for him to use the telephone. He and I conducted a perfectly civil debate in my living room at a very high decibel level while my wife, listening in another room to what she thought was a violent shouting match, wondered whether she should call the police. Finally, Charley and I agreed to disagree about the offending story. But as he left, he turned to me and said, “No Pew-LITZ-er for you, Victor.