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Bob Lind, Published June 18 2013

Lind: USPS honored paperboys in 1952 with 3-cent stamp

Years ago, The Forum – and other newspapers – was delivered only by paperboys.

Then papergirls came along. And today the paper is delivered by both male and female adults and young people.

But regardless of their age and gender, they provide a real service, getting up in the wee hours to have your paper waiting for you when you open your door in the morning.

Back in 1952, when the delivery almost certainly was by paperboys, the Postal Service issued a first-day cover honoring them.

The cover’s 3 cent stamp included this tribute: “In recognition of the important service rendered their communities and their nation by America’s newspaperboys.”

One of those boys was Vern Koppelman, of Moorhead, who still has one of those first-day covers, the stamp of that is reproduced here.

In 1952, Vern was 10 and lived in Wahpeton, N.D., where he delivered the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“Later,” Vern writes, “I went for the real money, delivering the Fargo Forum with Ray Bragg, Gary Jacobs and Paul ‘Bucky’ Walker, who are still close friends. We worked hard and saved money for cars, college and, of course, dating.

“Today, all four of us would tell you that, as paperboys, we learned that hard work would pay off if we gave our customers a service, and we learned how to manage money.

“Wahpeton was a wonderful place and the 1950s was a wonderful time to grow up in America.”

And those four paperboys today?

Well, Vern writes, “Ray had a career with Bemis Co. Inc. in Minneapolis as a marketing executive (while we other three) owned our own businesses: Gary is a very successful meat broker in Minneapolis, Bucky is a Freightliner dealer in Duluth, Minn., and I am a greeting card distributor.”

But he says it all began with their delivering the newspaper.

“In our case,” he says, “the 1952 postage stamp said it all.”

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com