Despite Byron’s “public” explanations for his decision to come to live by his cove, it is fairly certain that a conf luence of events, occurring over a considerable period of time, rather than any sort of well thoughtout plan, led this overly sensitive individual to “take to the woods” and remain there for half of his life. Initially, Byron had gone to his two-room cabin near St. Michaels to complete what would eventually become his first autobiographical novel, The Lord’s Oysters. He may have had every intention of quickly completing the story and returning to Dover. But he never did return to Delaware to write, work or live ~ with the exception of those few weeks in early 1947 ~ because Edna simply wouldn’t let him stay. At that point in his life, he had no marriage; no job; no family support; and limited funds. He simply had no other place to go but back to the cove ~ with its fireplace, but without potable water, electricity, plumbing, or telephone. Byron returned there and survived there and stayed there for the remaining years of his life ~ stoically accepting his situation while producing an astonishing body of literature relating to the two great bays that bracket Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Gilbert Byron of a dramatic and human struggle, more of his personal deprivations and wants expressed. ...I do not know how much he would want to go into his domestic life; but somehow I feel that this element would be meaningful to a great many readers, and if properly and sensitively treated, it would have a human appeal without lapsing into a breach of taste or invasion of privacy. It is so important for Mr. Byron, if he is to continue his writing and establish his reputation and thereby live by and from his writing, to make sure that his next book should be as outstanding or even better than The Lord’s Oysters. Anything less than that would not only be a disappointment to his readers, but to himself as an author. ...”
Adapted from Gilbert Byron ~ A Life Worth Examining, and Cove Dweller with thanks to Jim Dawson. 75
Tidewater Times July 2013