In the good old days, when I graduated from Camden High, jobs were scarce. I took the first one I could find, that was working in the Rexall Drug Store, where Village Soup/ Herald Gazette office in Camden is today. The going pay was $6 a week for working six days.

Ralph Bucklin had a tailor shop, called Camden Tailoring Co., on Chestnut Street, where Camden National Bank built when they expanded. He stopped into the drug store every morning, and I knew what he was going to order. It was a cherry coke. I thought that was an odd breakfast, but now as I look back, it must have been his caffeine fix like people today have to have their morning coffee.

His business was listed in the Camden Directory in 1903 and I was serving his “breakfast” in 1942, so the coke must have sustained him for many years. In fact I found that he had his shop for 54 years .His home was at 2 Pearl Street and like many people then, he walked to work each day. Not only did he work every day, but he also had a dance orchestra, called Bucklin’s Orchestra, for 25 years. That tells us that he was out late some nights, so he did need his caffeine to jump start him in the morning.

On Nov. 29, 1916, the Bucklin-Marston Orchestra played at the Thanksgiving Ball at the Opera House. Because of the demands of his ever-growing tailor business, Ralph Bucklin stepped down from directing his orchestra, after he had entertained Camden people with his music for many years. It then became the Marston Orchestra.

Ralph was the son of Charles Bucklin, who came to Camden from South Warren in 1865. He was born on May 11, 1871. Ralph’s mother was Viola Knowlton, daughter of David and Susan Knowlton, and came to Camden with her parents at age six from Liberty. Her brothers Alonzo, John D., Frank and Willis were well known because of the Knowlton Bros. Foundry. Viola died on Feb. 22, 1914 at the home of Ralph’s sister, Mrs. T. Jenness French. Their mother was a caregiver, as she brought up a granddaughter, Adelyn Bucklin Tripp, and also cared for Ralph’s invalid brother, Eben D. Bucklin, for 40 years.

Leila Bucklin (sister to Ralph) was born in Camden, Nov. 2, 1869, and always lived in her native town. After her graduation from Camden High School, she taught school here and was assistant at the high school for several years. She originated the teaching of music in our schools and went to Massachusetts to for two years to learn to teach the Holt system of vocal instruction in schools, until her marriage in 1903 to T. Jenness French, a cashier at Camden National Bank.

She was also an accomplished pianist and was a music teacher to many, including Edna St. Vincent Millay. She was a highly regarded member of the Monday Club, one of the oldest literary organizations in Camden. In 1909, a group of Camden people met at the home of Professor Keene on Free Street to form a choral organization. Dr. W. F. Hart was president and Leila Bucklin French was secretary. Forty people had joined it. She also belonged to the Rubinstein Club in Rockland, and took part in many musical events, both as singer and pianist. Leila was elected vice-president of the Library Book Fund Association in 1916, when Miss Anne Alden was president.

She died at her home on Pearl Street on June 24, 1922, after an extended illness. She was a faithful member of the Christian Science Church and the funeral services were conducted by Mr. Richardson of Rockland. She was buried at the French Cemetery in Lincolnville Beach. Her father, Charles, and brother, Ralph, survived her.

Ralph B .Bucklin was a member of the Elks Club and the Camden and Rockport Lions Club. According to Mountain View Cemetery records, his first wife was Lottie Tyler, who died in 1922. He later married Nellie, daughter of Mrs. Marion Handy of Boston, but she was not buried with the Bucklin family in Section 2, Lot 145 at Mountain View.

He died at age 79 on April 5, 1951 at the Camden Community Hospital on Mountain Street. Funeral services were held at the Gilbert C. Laite Funeral Home with Rev. Ferdinand Loungway of the First Congregational Church of Camden officiating. Bearers were Harold Corthell, Howard Rollins, Orman Goodwin, Sr., and Henry Baldwin, all well-liked businessmen of Camden.