Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, July 30, 2010

"At The Gate" by Myla Jo Closser

" At The Gate" by Myla Jo Closser-8 pages-circa 1915

I just read a short story that I liked so much I want to share it with those who read my blog. Any dog (or pet lover) will really love this story, I think.   Almost every day I at least look at the story of the day on East Of the Web:Short Stories.     The story today was "At the Gate" by Myla Jo Closser.     There is sparse biographical data available on Myla Jo Clossser.    There is no Wikipedia article on her.    She has only one published work that is known and that is this story.   She was born in 1880 but  I could not find a date of death or place of birth   I think it is safe to assume she was American.   She was married to Tarkington Baker who was it seems quite successful in the early days of the motion picture business.    He was at one time the general director of Universal Films which became in time the still existing Universal Studios.     I am assuming that this meant she had a comfortable and affluent life style.     She was cousin by marriage with the Pulitzer Prize winning author Booth Takington who was persuaded to writer for the movies by Closser's husband.   (I would like to know more about Myla Jo Closser and if anyone has any information please leave a comment).

"At The Gate" answers the question every child with a beloved dog has asked a parent, "Do dogs go to heaven?".     It is a simple story that would be a great read aloud for young children.  Anybody that has a bit of the child left in them will like this story.   The style has a simple hard to resist beauty.    As it opens a big Airedale, our lead character, is running through an unknown to him but very friendly seeming woods.    He is driven north by a smell.

The scent of the dogs grew very strong now, and coming nearer, he discovered, to his astonishment that of the myriads of those who had arrived ahead of him thousands were still gathered on the outside of the portal. They sat in a wide circle spreading out on each side of the entrance, big, little, curly, handsome, mongrel, thoroughbred dogs of every age, complexion, and personality. All were apparently waiting for something, someone, and at the pad of the Airedale's feet on the hard road they arose and looked in his direction.
At first the dog does not understand why all the other dogs ignore him as in his former home area dogs were all very interested in each other.   He sees there is a large gate and he wonders why the dogs are not trying to get through the gate and he is even more puzzled when it looks like the gate is open.    Why do not the other dogs go through the gates to looks for their human family?     He becomes friends with a bull terrier and we learn some of the dogs have been waiting at the gate for a long time and some have to wait just moments.    I do not want to tell any more of the plot this story other than just to say it will lift your spirits for sure.  

"At the Gate" is a really enjoyable read.    I admit personally in my mind I imagined cats at the gate!-    Your children will love this story also.   You can read it in under five minutes HERE.

If anyone has any suggestions for short stories I might like (and can read online) please leave a comment and if anyone has more data on Myla Jo Closser please leave  comment.


Suko said...

Another wonderful story, whether you're a dog person or a cat person!

Ricardo33 said...

Myla Jo Closser was the sister of famous Stage and screen actress Louise Closser Hale.
Louise Closser Hale was also a writer.

Ricardo33 said...

Myla Jo Closser was the sister of famous stage and screen actress Louise Closser Hale.
Louise Closser Hale was also a writer.

Mel u said...

Ricardo33-this is great info-I just read the Wikipeida article on her sister-thanks so much for this

Luffy said...

I just read it, searched it up, and WHAM! It was on your blog.

It is a truly nice story - almost a bit of a comedy - and it is a ghost story. It is for the latter reason that I read it, but I found it quite enjoyable in these other aspects. And it is a GREAT dog story.

I wonder why Myla Jo Closser is so little known...I'll have to do a little detective work into that.

Luffy said...


It does say on the Wikipedia page that Myla Jo Closser died in 1963 - she lived to 83. Hope her life was a good one...Thanks for the stuff!


Unknown said...

This story is not too bad, but it made me sad that those dogs lived such short lives. Four years old, and one year old! Dogs, poor things, live their lives practically enslaved to humans and their whims. A lot of dogs don't get the respect they deserve. They should be free of human shackles after death. It's better to consider oneself a dog's friend and guardian, rather than master or owner. Humans owe a lot to dogs not just as companions but important partners in human evolution and civilization. Also, I think there are many humans like me who would sit right there and wait for their dogs if they outlived their pets.

Mel u said...

Shalina Nemo. Your perspective is interesting. Thanks for your comment

Lisa said...

I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard of this story until now. One note of interest: I believe that she wrote this during WW1 and/or the Spanish Flu pandemic. This timing would clarify the dialogue from Bully towards the end of the story, where he says:
"And if by any chance the little fellow should come first,—there's been a lot of them this summer—of course you'll introduce me?"
The story collection that I originally read this in was published in 1921, so that also would fit this timeline.