WEEKLY REPORTS--M. Howe. Written during the 2 1/2 months' experience: August 2 to August 18, 1965. Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Weeks

The past few weeks have been interesting ones for me, in that I am finding that I have periods of lag in my attention to my work. I fight this to a point, but only to a point. I find that once my attention is averted from Peter, it is best not to fake it, because my lack of genuine enthusiasm with him can only lead us backward.

It is also true that during these weeks there have been other distractions at the lab that have required my attention. Two awnings have been installed, one over the Fiberglas tank and one over the block pool at the outflow of the sea pool. (See photographs.) We have needed these for a long time, and I was very glad to see them installed.

Also during the week photographs were taken of the lab in general and of me in with Sissy and Pam. We took a series of pictures of Sissy being brought upstairs on the elevator. (See photographs. )For this we used my bed, the pallet to show it in operation. My bed was therefore soaking wet, and it took several days to get the foam dried out. This broke my pattern with Peter, and I find that once it is broken, it is very hard to get back into it.

Also, several matters in town required my attention. Our phone has been out of order for over a week now, and all calls have to be made from outside. (This led to a good deal of anxiety on Dr. Lilly's part in which he spent thirty-six hours trying to raise me and almost came to St. Thomas to find out what was wrong.)

Also I had to go out to the employment agency to start the long fight to keep our three workmen . . . the new immigration law states that I must try to find local help. This is still not settled. So all in all it has been a distracting week. Meanwhile I have worked with Peter as best I could.

Monday of this week after my several days out of the flooded room, I moved back in with Peter and I find that, after the lapse, energy seems to be renewed on both parts. I am delighted with Peter . . . and he is working as hard as ever. I say "work, work, work" and Peter says "play, play, play." I try to combine them. He plays endlessly with his toys, if I play with him. I usually work with two different toys at a time . . . say the toy fish and a "Ba Be Block." We go from one to the other, and I try to get him to tell the difference. He does and he doesn't. Once he has correctly made a choice, I scold him when he makes a mistake. Some of this I am sure is just the bad little boy doing as he wishes.

I wish to add a note about the progress in the sex problem that developed between Peter and myself. I have found that during his erections, Peter was much to strong and pushy and I could not work with him. Then there was the business of Peter wooing me with the nibbling on the legs game. This was an example of Peter teaching me something.

Now it has happened that Peter has modified his sexual rambunctiousness . . . to a more humanized level . . . and no longer has to come to a dead stop when he gets excited. Peter's sexual excitement usually begins with the biting business, and my stroking him. Now, however, when his penis becomes erect, he no longer tries to run me down and knock me off my feet, rather he slides very smoothly along my legs, and I can very easily rub his penis with either my hand or my foot. Peter accepts either and again seems to reach some sort of orgasm and relaxes. We usually go through this three times or so before he quits and starts another game. This is not a private thing. Peter and I have done this with other people present . . . but it is a very precious sort of thing, Peter is completely involved, and I involve myself to the extent of putting as much love into the tone, touch, and mood as possible. We do not have to respect his privacy . . . but we cannot help but respect his happiness!

Now two things . . . I started out afraid of Peter's mouth, and afraid of Peter's sex. It had taken Peter about two months to teach me, and me about two months to learn, that I am free to involve myself completely with both. It is strange that for the one, I must trust completely . . . Peter could bite me in two. So he has taught me that I can trust him. And in the other, he is putting complete trust in me by letting me handle his most delicate parts . . . thus he shows me that he has trust in me. Peter has established mutual trust. Could I have devised such a plan? Looking back . . . things I left out. The effect of isolation and solitude over the ten-week period cannot be ignored. Looking back over the time spent and the notes collected, I find that I, for some reason, left out things about myself. Perhaps I felt they were not important or was ashamed of them.

Several times during the period, I felt the physically depressing effects of the situation to the point where I found myself actually crying. Small inconveniences suddenly loomed as very large and ugly. And I would find myself in a fit of self-pity, depression. It was Peter himself who brought me out of it every time without exception. An example of all this: to take a shower at night before going to bed, means that I have to stand in knee-deep sea water during the shower, dry myself, and then wade back to my bed. This meant that when I got onto my bed, my legs from the knee down were wet with salt water. Even after drying with a towel, the dampness would still get through and make the sheet on my bed clammy and, if I had any nicks on my legs from Peter, they kept "stinging," and in this rather bizarre setting with moonlight shining on the water making moving shadows all over the ceiling and walls, dull pump noises from below, I would try to settle down in bed, and occasionally found that out of sheer self-pity I would be adding my own salt tears to the mess I already lay in. And then, usually not very long after I lay still, Peter would sound off in humanoid, loud and clear, very close. From where I lay I could part the shower curtains around my bed, and reach out my hand to my eager, bright-eyed roommate who had usually collected a ball of some sort and was all set to start up a nice game of fetch or catch.

Peter was very determined in his expression of his need for me to enter into his game . . . he would toss the ball again and again into my bed, and emit humanoids in long and involved phrases, they were not perfectly clear in meaning but were perfectly clear in intent . . . that I seldom if ever ignored him, and usually ended up right back in the water, not caring at all about sleep, or the wet bed or the shower routine . . . simply overwhelmed at what Peter and I were accomplishing together.

Another example of the kind of depression that I went through: during the day the two workmen are around the lab, and I can talk to them and hear their work going on. The last one usually leaves rather late in the day . . . several hours after I have supposedly fed Peter his dinner. I found that the sound or the sight of that last person leaving at the end of the day depressed me so terribly, that the only way to get myself out of this feeling was to hold off feeding Peter until after they had all left. This I did and found that when the sad feeling came over me and I felt so alone, I would then have yet another lesson to do with Peter. At the end of the lesson I would be so involved with Peter and what had gone on during the lesson, that I avoided the empty feeling I dreaded. When I was expecting a human visitor in the evening I was very excited, elated. I almost always found, however, that when the visitor left I was sadder and lonelier than I was without a visitor. (I seldom had visitors.)

The feelings of depression and aloneness were not a constant thing by any means, but they did come and go, and my having to turn to Peter to overcome them was, I feel, an important part of the experiment. [Margaret has not read any of the solitary sailing, alone in the polar night or the isolation experiments literature. She is acquainted with some of the things that I have told her of this area of isolation. I feel that her description here is definitively her own and that little, if anything, of this is suggested from outside. There is an interesting correspondence here with experiences of other people isolated alone.

This is the end of Margaret's notes made during the experiment.