And they loved their father! He was bigger than life! After one of his many trips, we would love to meet him at the airport and be engulfed in those great, big arms of his as he swept us up in his special embrace. Then he'd recount the events of his travel and keep us spellbound for hours with humorous anecdotes, stories of the "ham radio" operators he'd met, and of the men and women he'd brought to Jesus. Those were wonderful reunions!
One could never call our family "typical." Being a preacher's wife wasn't all that had for me because we got to live in the same town for 40 years! After accepting the call to the Voice of Prophecy, we never left Glendale, California and my kids got to have a "normal" life! We never moved.
All three of our children attended Glendale Academy for 12 years each. They never had to face changing schools when their preacher-daddy accepted another call to ministry in some far-distant place.
In fact, my kids had as some of their best buddies Chuck and Connie Beth Edwards, whose father, Bob, sang tenor with the King's Heralds Quartet for so many years. Together they would explore the canyons behind our house, ride their motorcycles all over the place and join in all the festivities the school and community provided.
And best yet, Kenneth and Jackie Richards lived right at the end of the street with our handsome identical twin nephews, Kirk and Kenny. We loved joining families for sundown worship and would light the Sabbath menorah candles together, have a blessed worship experience, and then we'd climb in the big family wagon to go out for pizza on Saturday nights! What fun memories.
Now I will admit that my husband, Harold, was gone a lot of the time. He worked with his father, H.M.S. Richards, who founded the Voice of Prophecy, until his retirement. Then he took the reins as Director-Speaker and traveled all over the world preaching his wonderful sermons and leading men and women to Jesus.
And I stayed to raise the family God had given us and to wait for his daily calls—usually on our ham radio, which was an integral part of our lives. Even when Harold was on some far-distant Pacific isle, he's manage to rig up an antenna and would call in almost daily.
I spent my whole professional life-32 years straight—teaching in the Los Angeles area in grades kindergarten through six. And as a teacher, I was free to travel during the summers with my family.
Three or four years we packed up the station wagon and drove all over the United States and Canada with Harold as he made numerous camp meeting stops representing The Voice. In all, my kids have been in all 50 states with their dad. And they loved being in the audience as he told his stories and made them laugh with his animated preaching.
I want everyone to know that I am no paragon of virtue because I was fortunate to be called "Mrs. H.M.S. Richards, Jr." I'm just a normal wife and mother who has been blessed beyond measure with three delightful children and seven grandchildren who mean the world to me!
Another huge blessing was that Grandpa and Grandma Richards lived nearby. The interaction with grandparents was good for my kids. They adored them and cherished the times we gathered together to have family worship and other gatherings in their home nearby.
I remember one time when Grandpa (H.M.S. Richards), who always walked to the Voice of Prophecy offices, was in a hurry. Something was wrong with the car and Mother Mabel couldn't drive him. So he called my son, Jon, and asked him to give him a ride to the office.
Jon gladly obliged and soon Grandpa Richards was straddling Jon's motorcycle, holding on for dear life, as they whipped through the canyons. Jon asked Grandpa if he would like the scenic view, to which he agreed. So Jon took him on some pretty precipitous bike trails. When they arrived at the office, Grandpa Richards got off the motorcycle and commented humorously, "It's a good thing I can only see out of one eye!"
Our kids met missionaries from all over the world who were committed Christians. Many meals were eaten al out table surrounded by these missionaries and we were spellbound by their wonderful stories. Fabulous impressions of service and dedication filled our hearts and made indelible impressions on Harold, Jon and Mary Margaret.
Harold and I planned a fun retirement centered around our children and grandchildren. After his early death at age 70, 1 packed up the family home on Edwards Drive in Glendale and moved to the northwest to be near my sons and their children.
Today, my life is filled with all the delightful things that any normal grandmother faces—car pools, birthday parties, sleepover, and quiet moments just sharing fond memories.
I would not trade being Mrs. H.M.S. Richards, Jr. for anything. And I know that one day soon I'll see my husband again with a body free from disease and pain and my children and I will once again be embraced in those great, big, strong arms of his as he takes us to greet his very best friend, Jesus! Believe me we can hardly wait.