Laura, my daughter; sent me a “Happy Father’s Day” greeting on Whatsapp; all the way from the U.S. of A. She will be calling up later this evening.

I vividly remember my feelings of becoming “DAD”; the knowledge that it is one of two highest honours that can be bestowed on anyone. The other of the two highest honours is becoming “MUM” for ladies. I remembered shortly after 9.15am, Wednesday June 27th, 2001; when the nurse brought Laura Kristen Atkinson to me and asked if I would like to carry her. I was absolutely elated.

It has been an honour of the highest order to be Laura’s dad. I made lots of slipups along the last about 21 years. For example, I was recently reminded of a booboo I did a few years ago: Jeannie was away, overseas; for work. On one of those days, I cooked up a whole lot of hashbrowns and burgers for us to eat the whole day long. As I had completed the big pile of food; Laura came into the kitchen and grabbed one of the hashbrowns to eat.

“Why does this smell like soap?”, she asked. She replaced it with another one which also smelt like soap. I told her it must be her imagination. I bit into one of the burgers. “Yuck! It does taste like soap”, I said. Then, I realised why.

The cooking oil and soap bottle containers were near each other. The cooking oil had a similar colour to the soap. Both the bottle containers were about the same shape and size, too.

So, I must have grabbed the soap container by mistake, without reading the label which had the word “soap” and a picture of glistening dishes printed on it, and poured the oil (soap) into the pan to fry the burgers and hashbrowns.

While I was frying this food, I kept wondering why the “oil” dried up so fast in the hot pan. Not checking the container, I poured more “oil”. This shows how much of time I spend in the kitchen. Haha!😂😂

It’s fun being dad!

When I was three years old; my father used to have recoding sessions with us kids – my sister Jennifer and I. Nigel was about a year old and Terence was a few months. These “recording sessions” were recorded using an open reel tape deck. He also used to play records (as they were called those days with 16, 33, 45 and 78 R.P.M. speeds. Today, they are known as “vinyls”). So, he played records of our favourite songs and tape our conversations and singing, too. My favourite songs he used to play for me was, “Me And My Teddy Bear” by Roy Rogers and “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” by Henry Hall & His Orchestra. This was in 1962. Turn table record players with radios, open reel deck tape recorders – gadgets. Hmmm. I just realised that I’m a chip of the old block due to my interest in gadgets, too.

My dad has played this tape several times over the years to us, his children; and to relatives and friends, too. While he did this, he recorded us in the various stages of us growing up. By then, Malcolm, the youngest; was on the scene (included in the recordings😁).

Today, that open reel tape still sounds very good when played back. It is about 50 years old. On it, we hear dad’s and mum’s voices when they were younger. I am not sure whether my memories were influenced by these recordings or they are sheer memory power. All the same, lots of great memories.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to dad and all the dads!

I managed to find the “Me And My Teddy Bear” by Roy Rogers and “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” by Henry Hall & His Orchestra songs which I am so familiar with.


Me And My Teddy Bear
In the house next door right next to mine
A little boy lives there
At Xmas time dear Santa Claus
Brought him a teddy bear

He loves his little teddy bear
He’s with it all day long
And the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard
Is to hear him sing this song

Me and my teddy bear
Have no worries, have no cares
Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day

I love my teddy bear
He has one eye and has no hair
But I love my teddy bear
We play and play all day

Every night he’s with me
When I climb up the stairs
And by my bed he listens
Until I say my prayers

Oh, me and my teddy bear
Have no worries, have no cares
Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day

Every night he’s with me
When I climb up the stairs
And by my bed he listens
Until I say my prayers

Oh, me and my teddy bear
Have no worries, have no cares
Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day
Just play and play all day

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: J. Fred Coots / Jack Winters

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic
If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Every teddy bear who’s been good is sure of a treat today
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat and wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
That’s the way the teddy bears have their picnic

Picnic time for teddy bears
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares
At six o’clock their mummies and daddies
Will take them back home to bed
‘Cause they’re tired little teddy bears

If you go down in the woods today, you’d better not go alone
It’s lovely down in the woods today, but safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jimmy Kennedy / John W. Bratton

“Me And My Teddy Bear” (1950) by Roy Rogers, CroonR1, YouTube

“The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” (1932) by Henry Hall & His Orchestra, retrotor, YouTube


Either we are moving too slowly and time has caught us off guard, or time is moving at a relentless, breathtaking pace.

We celebrated dad’s 70th birthday. That was not too long ago. Then, his 80th came along and we all celebrated with him. All his siblings were with him. Aunty Maureen and Uncle Ronnie (& Aunty Maryjane) in Malaysia. Uncle Pat, Uncle Al and Aunty Val, all residing in Perth, Western Australia; made the trip for that very special occasion. At the end of his celebration on that day; we said we will look forward to his 90th. Phew! That seemed like (like?. Oh no… my English is like getting infiltrated like by the looks of things) only yesterday.

Dad, at around a year old; with his parents (my grandparents), Charles (left) and Julia Atkinson. Uncle Arthur Atkinson (Right), went missing during World War II.

Childhood years were spent growing up in Ipoh (1). A lad of St Michael’s Institution, he was known for his skills at cricket.

1950s – In England.

In the picture above, he was already in the army and was doing a stint in Sandhurst.

Trip down memory lane: This was home in Ipoh, for Grandpa (Papa) Atkinson and family in 1955 and before.

Their Silibin home (the picture above) was their last home in Ipoh before they moved to Kuala Lumpur (2) in the mid-1950s.

Their move to Kuala Lumpur was not without fanfare from what I hear from his cousin, Percival (Percy) Reyes and my cousin, Dato’ Seri Jeffrey Raymond.

The Atkinsons moved in with the Reyes on Lorong Hicks, next door to the Gomes residence. Uncle Gerald Reyes (Percy’s father) was my grandmother’s (dad’s mother) youngest brother.

On several meet-ups with Percy and Dato’ Seri Jeffrey separately, they would fondly reminisce on the past when they stayed in Lorong Hicks. Percy would have been in his teens at that time. Jeffrey, much younger; is the son of mom’s elder sister, Aunty Flory. Now, Percy and Jeffrey most probably have not met up for decades, even till today. But they both talked fondly about this young army officer in his spruced up uniform that would stop the world in its tracks whenever he came home from his postings.

Hence (a very old English word), mum and dad got married in 1956. If that did not happen, then my siblings and I won’t be here. Naturally, the Gomes family approved of him immediately because he had a couple of aces up his sleeve – he could sing and read music. I think that was more important to them than knowing the ABC alphabet, as “music” and “Gomes” were more often than not, in the same sentence.

Mum & Dad
(Third from left): Dad. Mum (Standing. 2nd from the right). Dad’s father (my grandfather) stands on the far left. This is what I believe to be part of the Church of the Assumption Choir in the 1960s in one of their fun gatherings.
A programme page of a musical that dad acted in.

In mid-1981, celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with mum; with us, their children: Jennifer seated next to mum. Standing left to right: Malcolm, Terence, Nigel and me.

Jennifer, Nigel, Terence, Malcolm and I; grew up with music almost 24 x 7. Classical, western, rock n roll, choirs, music bands. And music is very much with Laura (Jeannie’s and my daughter) and her cousins, too.

With his siblings. In front: Uncle Ronnie (#5) and Uncle Al (#3). Seated on the chair, left to right: Uncle Pat (#2), Aunty Val (#6), Aunty Maureen (#4) and dad (#1 – eldest).
Dad and Mum, with Laura, Jeannie and me; celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and mum’s birthday which was 2 days earlier.

On the steps of St Michael’s Church; Ipoh, Perak. A gathering of most of the Atkinson clan on a trip down memory lane.

Fast forward…. May 10, 2022. Dad’s 90th birthday. Dad turned 90 today, marking the beginning of his 91st year. Papa (my grandfather), dad’s father; always looked at birthdays that way.

The fourth generation Atkinsons (the grandkids); organised a birthday celebration last Saturday (May 8th) at dad’s & mum’s home in Klang. Aunty Maureen, Uncle Ronnie and Aunty Maryjane joined in the celebration, too. Terence was not well, so he and Mabel could not make it. Latest update today: he has almost fully recovered.

Dad wanted to have a picture of me with him in this shirt I was wearing. He has always commented that he liked this shirt. He said on that day, “I want a picture of you with that shirt before it fades or you stop wearing it”. So, here’s the photo, dad.

Dad, Aunty Maureen, Uncle Ronnie and me.

The grand Prince at 90. You know this is the work of the grandkids.

Dad gave an articulated, off the cuff speech. His mind is sharp. He thanked all of us, especially the organisers for that evening, for being there on that day.

Now, into his 91st. He still phones his siblings here and in Australia; us – his children, our spouses and his grandchildren; regularly, to find out how we are faring. He may not be able to waltz the whole ballroom away with mum, now; but I won’t put it past him, that he may do the famous “Eustace Atkinson twist” if prompted to.

We, his family; are looking forward to his 100th. Cheers, dad!


  1. Ipoh is a city in the state of Perak, Malaysia
  2. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia