The Poca River Postal Authority
Commemorative Issue

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Mr. Tommy "Teeter" Totten
Bicycle Acrobat

The Poca River Postal Authority is pleased to announce a stamp honoring Mr. Tommy "Teeter" Totten.

Tommy Totten was born in Poca-on-the-Poca in 1917.  At an early age Totten showed a penchant for daredevilry.  The small, school playground was an arena for little Tommy.  Early in life his agility on the see-saw earned him the nickname, "Teeter."  By the time "Teeter" Totten was 14 he had saved enough money for a bicycle.  In no time at all, Totten developed many tricks and stunts on his bicycle.

He began to call himself an acrobat on a bike, or "bikerobat."  By the summer of 1933, Totten began to ride his bicycle to every town celebration up and down the Poca River in order to perform his stunts.  After his act, he would pass his cap around the crowd.  In this manner, Totten earned more money than had his father on the family farm.

The following summer, Totten continued his traveling show, and developed more feats for the bicycle.  The crowds were very enthusiastic, but they demanded more complicated stunts.  In late July of 1934 at the Poca River Fish Celebration in Fraziers Bottom, Totten attempted, for the first time, a new trick where he coiled his body into the frame of his bicycle.  While this was quite an astonishing feat, he was unable to unwind himself from the bicycle.

He struggled for about 30 minutes while gales of laughter came from the crowd.  Finally, two chiropractors and a locksmith came to his aid and extricated him from his bicycle.  This so mortified Totten that he returned to his home, never to attempt another trick.  He worked on the family farm until his death in 1968.  Nevertheless, he is fondly remembered by those who were fortunate enough to witness his skill.

The stamps were issued in an 8.5" x 11" pane of 16 stamps (in four denominations: 3, 5, 7, and 9 pu) on February 11, 2003.


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