It was reported recently that the U.S. Postal Service has a long-standing rule that stamps cannot feature people who are still living.

Wrong, says Louise Bakken of Fargo. She says many stamps have featured living people over the years. Some of them were residents of North Dakota.

One of the most famous is a 1990 stamp showing Dwight Eisenhower talking to paratroopers just before the D-Day invasion. One of the troopers is Bill Hayes, who was from Fargo.

Bill made it safely through the war, then returned to Fargo where he worked for Sears and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He died in 2006.

Then there was the Trans-Mississippi stamp of 1898 that had Evan Nybakken, of Cass County, on it; that stamp was shown in a recent Neighbors column. And in 1962, a stamp honoring the Homestead Act showed John Bakken (no relation to Louise's husband) and his family standing by their sod house near Milton, N.D.

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All of these people were living when the stamps were issued.

But then, Louise writes, many other stamps had living people on them. Among them: the stamp featuring the Times Square sailor-kissing-nurse picture on V-J Day; the Iwo Jima flag-raising stamp, issued when some of the men were living; the stamp showing the astronauts walking on the moon; well, the list goes on and on.

There you go, neighbors. You can't lick Louise's postage stamp argument.

Dinky delivers

Now to the branch line trains, which usually were nicknamed the Galloping Goose but sometimes were known as the Dinky, which was what folks around Absaraka, N.D., called their Great Northern train.

Keith Monilaws of Absaraka, writes about the train that covered the route from Dilworth to Devils Lake, N.D., and went through Absaraka.

"It brought mail, farm machinery to Faught Mercantile and picked up cream cans and passengers, so it was a vital link between Absaraka and the rest of the county," Keith says.

One time, he says, the Dinky brought a "special guest" to Absaraka.

Her name was Esther Hagemeister. She came from Fargo to visit her sister (who was Keith's mother) in Absaraka.

Esther worked for Pioneer Mutual in Fargo and gained fame when The Forum featured her because of her excellence in writing letters and for her "perfect work" as a secretary.

This, despite being blind from birth.

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