We're being asked if we'll re-air this week's LONG STORY SHORT with Sharon L. Hicks of East Honolulu. Yes, the show re-plays at 4:00 pm Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 on PBS Hawaii. And it's available online now at www.PBSHawaii.org
Sharon loved her mother, but often was bewildered or embarrassed by her mother's behavior. When I was a kid growing up in Niu, Mrs. Hicks, the strikingly attractive wife of a prominent homebuilder who built 20,000 houses in Hawaii, was known for going nude in public. Sometimes she got arrested.
Sharon tells a story about her mother shedding her clothes in the old Kahala Liberty House. Security guards ran after her, as she kept ducking them, and one asked in frustration, "How do you grab a naked lady?" Sharon wrote a memoir with that question as the book title.
Mrs. Hicks had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She hated her prescribed medications and wouldn't take them. When her behavior got extreme, she sometimes was subjected to electroshock therapy, then considered therapeutic.
In this program, Sharon talks frankly about her late mother’s mental illness, the eventual breakup of the Hicks' marriage, and having the task as an adult of administering a fund to take care of her mother, who never really gained insight into her situation.
Today Sharon is a grandmother, retired from the work force, and volunteers with an agency that helps people who suffer from mental illness. She says it's taken her a long time to process her confusing childhood.