Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 15 2002

Liquid Brown Mixture

I went to the Adventist Hospital again this morning to check up on my itises. My back is feeling better and I am walking more or less normally again, albeit* slowly. On the cold/infection/virus front, it seems that I was overdue for my annual opium binge, so they gave me a couple of bottles of the concoction known by its scientific name “Liquid Brown Mixture” today along with my huge bag o’ pills. Consequently, I’ve been feeling rather mellow today. There was a rather large earthquake, and I didn’t even notice. I got out of the elevator at work to find people rushing around excitedly. “Where were you during the earthquake?” one of my co-workers asked. “What earthquake?” I asked, and immediately got a look of disbelief. I’m not surprised I didn’t notice, though. I’m even feeling amicably towards the Office Vampires today. The water’s going to be cut off at the office tomorrow, since the Xinyi District’s turn according to the rationing plan, though. I doubt I’ll be feeling very amicably towards that.

After an excruciating trip from the American midwest to our polluted, drought/quake-stricken island, My friend Mindcrime is now back in Taiwan, although he hasn’t made it up to Taipei yet. Perhaps he will venture up here to see Episode II when it opens this weekend. Dean called me up last night after an evening of drunken antics at Q Bar and proposed that we should get everyone together at Jake’s on Sunday and then rush the theater. I’ve got a bad feeling….nah, actually it sounds fun.

Speaking of movies, I recently watched On the Waterfront. Is it just me, or did they accidentally lose the voice tracks and replace Marlon Brando’s voice with that of Billy Crystal and Eve Marie Saint’s with that of Andie Macdowell? Also, I had no idea that Karl Malden was such a good actor. I really only remembered him from all of those American Express commercials. With this in mind, I also recently bought Patton on DVD. Best war movie ever, as far as I’m concerned. Much better than Saving Private Ryan.

*I once used the word “albeit” in a research report on German sports cars for my 7th-grade English class at Maitland Junior High school. Mrs. Gwinn, my teacher, refused to believe that I had come up with that word myself and accused me of having my parents write the report for me. My mother had a talk with the teacher and managed to convince her that I had written the report on my own.

I liked Rosalie Gwinn, though. She was a good teacher. It’s just that this kind of thing was always happening to me in that period of my life, since I had made up my mind at some point in junior high school to begin applying myself to get better grades, actually since I was informed that they actually meant something and could have something to do with my going to college or not. My reputation, however, was that of a rather poor student, and the sudden onset of entrances to honor societies, gifted programs and the life, confounded many an educator. Once my Civics teacher wouldn’t let me leave the classroom to attend the yearbook photography for the honor roll students. I had to show her my name on the list, which of course embarrassed her in front of the entire class. She got back at me with a none-too-subtle touche by giving me my only C that year, kicking me off the honor roll. And now I’m getting back at her by, uh….not mentioning her name here. I’m sure she’ll be devastated. Truth is, I’ve completely forgotten her name. So there!

Ah, the memories…*drinks some more Liquid Brown Mixture*.

posted by Poagao at 10:15 am  


  1. i can’t thank you enough for your post on the “brown mixture” … i just got a prescription for it today … funny thing was, i already drank the 10cc dosage before i started wondering – is this really supposed to be taken orally??? 😀

    Comment by anne — July 1, 2007 @ 6:18 am

  2. I discovered your website some months ago while killing time in a hospital, playing around with my daughter’s laptop. Gaye Gwinn(Sims), whom you may or may not remember from Maitland Junior Hihg, fought a particularly virulent and aggressive form of multiple myeloma from June 2006 until her death on August 22, 2008. I didn’t write you at the time because my mind was too focused on cancer and its evils, but I did remember the incident, though I could not then or now recall your name. My memory wants to put you in the first row in front of my desk because I remember talking to you about it. I had taught several years at the time and had never had a student use “albeit” in a paper, but I had had parents write or “help” write their children’s papers. I had to ask, and though I taught gifted and International Baccalaureate students at Winter Park High School for the last 20 years of my teaching, I had only a handful who were ever sharp enough to use albeit correctly. And I knew its correct usage because I had looked up every possible definition in several dictionaries when you had used it years before.

    Comment by Rosalie Gwinn — November 2, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

  3. Thanks for writing, Rosalie, and I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. For the record, I remember more from your class than all of my other MJHS classes combined.

    Comment by Poagao — November 2, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  4. Hi Chris,

    Rosalie Gwinn here. I talked to John Sheehan about you, and /of course, Sheehan remembers all his beloved Russian students. I discovered last week that I have another student living in Taiwan now, though he is home for a short visit. He graduated from WP in 2004 and has a degree in history from Davidson. Quiet and kind with a brilliant mind, he has been teaching English in Taiwan. I am having lunch with him next week and want to tell him about you with your permission. I would think that ex-pats would enjoy meeting others from the same areas, but maybe not.

    Comment by R — July 11, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  5. That would be fine with me.

    Comment by Poagao — July 12, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  6. It’s funny how a blog post about Liquid Brown Mixture could lead me back to a beloved teacher who thought I was a huge pain in the ass.

    I’m also sorry to hear about your loss, Mrs. Gwinn. I’m sorry to infer that you no longer teach English or critique your students’ bad poetry at Winter Park High.

    Now I’m trying to remember if I knew how to use “albeit”.

    Thank you, Poagao, for sharing your memories.

    Comment by Cathy Nicoloff — October 24, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  7. I remember well Brown mixture. I am 73 year of age and when I was ten or so I drakn the stuff by the bottle full as did my wife. Our Mothers always kept a bottle on hand for colds.On the front of the bottle was a large skull and cross bones. It was to serve as a warning to the moms not to over do Brown Mixture. All the Pharmacys in Baltimore Maryland USA carried it. When the FDA got involved sometime in the 60’s that was the end of Brown Mixture. You are correct to say the stuff had an addicting quality. I loved the stuff even the skull and cross bones on the bottle did not deter me.

    Comment by Ron Scheeler — February 28, 2010 @ 12:15 am

  8. I’m sad to say that the world lost a wonderful person and teacher yesterday, as Rosalie Gwinn departed from this mortal world. I believe she had suffered from cancer. My parents, who still live in Maitland, called to tell me this morning. I too learned more from Mrs. Gwinn’s 7th and 8th grade Language Arts classes than from the rest of my MJHS classes combined.

    Comment by Karen — November 5, 2010 @ 3:44 am

  9. Terrible, terrible news. She impacted the lives of so many students over the years and helped so many people.

    Comment by Poagao — November 5, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  10. I, too, was so sad when I got the news of her passing. Not only was she an inspiring teacher, but she also cared about all of her students.

    Comment by Miranda — November 5, 2010 @ 8:18 am

  11. I too read about Mrs. Gwinn’s passing this morning on Orlando Sentinel.com. I attended Dommerich Elementary, Maitland Jr and Winter Park High school graduating in 1982. I had Mrs. Gwinn for AP English and can honestly say I don’t think I deserved to be in her class! However, it had to be better than Mr. Johnson’s history class or Coach Proke’s business class, so I endured and I am so glad I did!
    Mrs. Gwinn truly cared about her students and she was able to hold my interest like no other teacher could.
    I knew about Gaye’s passing and remembered her fondly as someone who cared about people as much as her Mom.
    Yes, funny how a brownish liquid could bring people together and help them remember a plethora of good things about their time in school.

    Comment by Lisa — November 5, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

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