Bostonia Magazine (October 1, 2009): Life Goes On

Publication Date: 
Thu, 10/01/2009

One early summer Saturday, Ted Clapp, a retired minister and psychologist, invited about twenty of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to lunch at his place north of Portland, Maine. He had set out some family treasures - including arrowheads found on his grandfather's farm, watercolor paintings by some "ancient ancestor," an antique trumpet, and his great-grandfather's sword - that he'd collected over his ninety years.

"I said, come and take whatever you think is right for you to have," Clapp recalls. His relatives obliged, relieving him of almost everything. "I was so grateful, because what do I want with those things? I don't worship them. They ought to be with the next generation."

The Clapp legacy, it turns out, has a lot more going for it than keepsakes. Some lucky combination of genetics and good living has blessed the family with an extraordinary record of long life.