28 May 2010

Letter to my Dad - Tony Soliano

Following in the footsteps of Antares, who paid a tribute to his dad on his birthday, I thought I'd do something similar but different.  

Today would have been my dad's 77th birthday.  So here is a letter I wrote him!

Dear D,

I know you've always liked that I called you D.  Perhaps everyone thought it was a shortened version of Daddy.  But you and I know it was not.

I found this picture of you and your brothers.  I love this picture. I made copies and sent it to them some years ago.  You all looked so happy.  As usual, you had to be the outstanding one with the dark glasses!

Today would have been your 77th birthday.  It's almost 20 years since you died.  There are days when I don't think of you at all.  Then, there are also days when I suddenly miss you so much.

I have millions of tiny memories of you.  I guard them safely in my mind and pick at them when I need a smile.  

Often I wonder what you would have thought of your six children, and the choices we had made after you had gone.  You'll be happy to know that we are all quite close and we stay in touch.  

I still remember that day when Rindra called to tell me the news but I was feeding Eric and Jared took the call.  Rindra asked me to call back and I could hardly breathe when he told me.

It was very hard for all of us.  We each grieved in our own way and drifted apart but we have all remained in touch and, I might add, with strong sibling bonds.  It has to be our love and respect for you that binds us all.

At that time, Sheila Majid's song "Lagenda" hit the scene and although the rest of Malaysia thought of P. Ramlee, I could only think of you whenever I heard that song.  The lyrics seemed so very appropriate for you too.  Tears pricked my eyes when I realised that I’d never ever see you again.

from here

Your grandson, Jared loved the fact that I called you "D".  He now uses the same term of endearment for his dad.  Jared remembers you fondly as the one who drank the "black beer".  You used to love your Guinness Stout!

Long ago when we wanted to attend a party during our early teens and mom told us to come home by ten.  We lamented and appealed to you.  Immediately, you told us that we could go but to return home before the sun rises in the morning.  Those were magical words for us.  The trust we got from you and the pride we felt at this "unlimited" permission to party.

So many things remind me of you: a piano, jazz music, jokes, love and laughter.

Yet, it's the little things that jog my memory as I go about my life.

Whenever I eat the salted egg, I always think of you.  Yes, it's my favourite memory of you and me.  You'd take the yolk and pass the salty white part to me.  I'd often told this to whoever was having a meal with me.  It probably sounded like an inconsequent remark to them but it was a moment that made me remember you and made me smile.

You don't know but of all the pieces of jewellery that I have, the one I treasure the most is a gold chain that you gave me for my 21st birthday.  To me, it's the most precious and valuable piece I own.  Once I thought I had lost it and I felt sick with my own carelessness.  Fortunately, it had dropped on the kitchen floor and when I found it, I was so relieved.  I've kept it safely now.  

Happy Birthday, D.

You are gone but not forgotten.

I love you and suddenly I miss you so very much.

Much love from your daughter



de minimis said...

Hi Lita

a very touching and heartfelt post. Made me think of my Dad. Thank you for sharing what must be a wistful yet happy memory.

Johan H said...

That's a very sweet letter... your father's clearly the light of your life and I wish more Malaysians can express themselves to their parents the way you do. I guess the hard life can be overwhelming. My own dad will soon celebrate his 82nd birthday. He just recovered from stage 2 cancer. Imagine an old man going thru the pain of chemo and not just survive but see the aggressive cancer regress. He is a major reason why I came back to live with him & mom in the kampung when I could be enjoying the high life in Shanghai and London. I don't think I'll be going anywhere as long as both of them are still alive.

Antares said...

Tony Soliano and I were on head-nodding and back-patting terms, but we never hung out together, so I can't claim that I knew your father. But I'm sure glad his feisty daughter Estrelita feels like such a soul-buddy even though we've only ever met ONCE!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Johan, That's a sweet comment too. I think what you are doing is so noble. It says a lot about you. For this reason, I'm really glad to know you.

Thank you for the lovely words.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

My dear Antares,

Soul-buddies at first sight!

Why not???

Appreciate your cyber visit especially when I have yet to keep my promise to get wet in Magick River. ;-D

Hugs for you always

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

de minimis, Thank you for your kind comment. I had already gone to bed and then I thought of my dad. Soon all the ideas kept me from falling asleep.

In the end, I got up to do this.

I slept well after that. :-)

Pat said...

A beautiful post, Lita.

Your love for your dad keeps him alive in your heart.

I remember him well, because he was in music, and it has always been something I loved. And I so remember the dark glasses! Super cool! Hahahah!

He sounds like he was a fun man, who remembered what it was like to be young. Too many of us forget that, as we grow older.

You are a lucky girl, to have been loved so well by him. And he's smiling down at the precious treasure he has in you.


Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

My dear Pat,

You didn't disappoint me at all. I was waiting and waiting for your comment.

Yes, you got it right that he knew how to have fun! Even when he was in his forties and fifties, I remember him doing funny stuff which made all of us roll on the floor laughing.

We grew up with music around us. Celebrities dropped by all the time and we became accustomed to the irregular hours he kept.

Thank you, Pat dearest for you kind words for him and for me.

Joe Chelliah said...

Your post is simply awesome Lita and a timely tribute from a filial daughter. Your father was so so serious when performing and such a strict band leader. My fingers trembled when I performed with him at a couple of gigs n one RTM recording...but he was just hilarious off stage with his constant joking n affable nature. Of coz we had "black beer" too along the way. Joe Chelliah

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...


Thanks for remembering my dad in the best possible way.

I'm going to add your link to my blog list so I'll know whenever you post something new.

╔══╗ ♥ ♫ ♥
║██║ ♫ ♥ ♫
║(O) ║ ♥ ♫ ♥
╚══╝Music is awesome :)

juliana said...

dat is so sweet i never thought dat a daughter could feel dat way to a father i hope dat i will feel the same way too wen my daddy won't be around anymore.i never really got to know my grandpa but now i know dat he was a loving father and dat is why ur such a loving person who has so much and dats why i miss u so.LUV U ALWAZ JULIANA N FAMILY

STEEST said...


So nice to see you visiting my blog. Thanks for the comment.

Grandpa would have loved to see all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren too.

Enjoy you daddy while you can, When they are gone, there really is nothing anymore! Just the memories and hopefully no regrets.

Love you back!!! :)

Anonymous said...

J'ai appris des choses interessantes grace a vous, et vous m'avez aide a resoudre un probleme, merci.

- Daniel

Padma said...

A beautiful tribute, Lita. Thank you for sharing :)))

STEEST said...


Vous êtes les bienvenus! From google translate. :D

STEEST said...


Thanks, dear! Hugsss!


bagio said...

Lita Dearest,

Many Year of pain till this day you have suffered. You know how it is too loose someone so Dear. Tear's too roll down this face of mine reading your letter with so much feeling but just memories only. My Dad is still around yet I don't feel the same as before. I tried many times to push it away. Older as he gets, closer of him leaving me is a reality.
Yet when I am with him, I see him as a person of wonders. Wonders many don't know and have experienced with him. Pictures of him flashes as a Band Leader, Music Director, Head of the House, Provider of the Home and the most important of all, the admiration and the gratitude filled with respect by the many who have know him and worked with him. If my Dad had all the perfect qualities raised through the hardship of Music, I am very sure U.Tony had if not more equal qualities. Many of my Singapore friends who have relative still in KL or Malaysia, ask them once they hear that a Soliano is working with them if I am a "MUSICIAN". Am I the son of Tony Soliano? Are we related? Like Alphonso Soliano, Dad is also raised up onto the highest pedestal as a "Musical Legend". This makes me feel very proud. I have 2 legends in Malaysia and 1 in Singapore. Best of all, all are related to me.

Esther Lee said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt memories you have of our dad and I'm sure there plenty more. He is a lucky man and I'm sure he is looking down from heaven on you and that makes you a lucky girl too.*Hugs*

Martin Lee said...

For a daughter or son to remember a dad this way, all his effort in his entire life is worthy and could rest in greater peace!