Author Angela Bomford's childhood in Wallasey, England, was filled with air raids, bombs, and gas masks. In A Time to Dance, Bomford recalls her adventures as a young Christian as she struggles to break into show business in 1950s England. Tragedy and comedy follow her across Europe, where she has a peek behind the Iron Curtain and adventures in Paris and Vienna.
She narrates how failed romance triggers serious self-doubt—until her walk with the Lord leads her to a deep, lifelong romance with the man she had a crush on as a young teenager. A whirlwind courtship takes her across the Atlantic Ocean to Peru, Panama, and the United States. From working as an assistant stage manager in England to acting on movie sets in Florida, this true story brings both a lump to the throat and laughter to the lips.
With photos included, A Time to Dance, Bomford shares her life story, giving insight into growing up against the backdrop of World War II, working in show business, and placing her life in the hands of the Lord.
The small girl gripped her big sister’s hand with all the fierce love and trust only a three year old could muster. Olive was ten, and the young child felt an overwhelming assurance that as long as Olive was leading the way, her safety was assured. “Come on Angela,” Olive urged her small charge. “Hurry up, and whatever you do, don’t trip over.”
There were few automobiles on the streets of England in the nineteen thirties. People could not afford such a luxury. Angela always enjoyed playing with her toys under the table – the only space there was to play in the apartment over the little furniture store that her father owned.
The radio was always on at home. The child knew the ‘Lullaby of Broadway,” from a new American musical show, and liked it when a man called Bing Crosby sang.
“For heaven’s sake girl, you’ve got your knees all grubby again and we have to leave soon,” mother scolded when they arrived back in the little kitchen.
A few weeks earlier, Olive had been rehearsing with a group to sing in a show at the local Theatre. Angela, sitting on her father’s lap, had been agitating to get up on the stage too, and have a bash at singing into a microphone like her sister. Big brother Norman had needed someone to try out his home-made microphone so had taught the child to sing a couple of songs into it. Now, in a real theatre with the rehearsal over, the band began packing up their instruments.
Angela’s father took her up on the stage and asked the conductor if he would let the three year old sing into the microphone for a minute. The child started to sing. A few minutes later, the band began to unpack their instruments, and started backing up the small voice. After a second song, with the whole band now playing behind her, the conductor spoke at length with Olive and Angela’s father.
All over England, towns were planning special celebrations to mark the Coronation of King George VI. His older brother had abdicated to marry a divorced American woman. Now the Duke of York, with his wife and two little girls, had been suddenly thrown into the world spotlight. It was particularly hard on the young Duke, as he was fighting to overcome a terrible speech impediment. Seventy-five years later, a movie that would sweep the Academy Awards, would be made about him.
Towns all over Britain were having their own “Coronation Queens”, and after Angela’s impromptu performance, the producers decided it would be a novelty to have the three year old crowned as the “Coronation Queen” of Wallasey with her big sister Olive holding the long train.
So the knees had to be scrubbed to perfection, as it was May 12th, 1937, Coronation say. They must leave for the theatre. The “Floral Pavilion” New Brighton, would play a pivotal role throughout that small child’s life.
Little more than two years later, the family, along with the whole of Europe was plunged into a life filled with bombs, air-raid shelters, and gas masks.
For world War Two had begun.