We don’t tend to associate our forebears with having dazzling dentistry. With smoking and drinking – as well as sugary snacks – being far more commonplace in times past, movie-star smiles – we assume – are a modern phenomenon. So, when Derek Schwendeman found a decades-old photograph of his grandfather, Thomas, in his military gear, he thought it might be of wider interest. Schwendeman uploaded the picture to Reddit, but he couldn’t possibly have predicted the response it would generate.
When the photo was put online, Thomas Schwendeman was 86 years-old. He lived with his wife Fleecie, to whom he’d been married for 65 years. In that time, the pair had raised a family of three kids, who themselves later had children of their own. Life, it seems, had settled down for Thomas since his army days.
However, Thomas had led quite the life in his earlier days. Like many other young Americans in the aftermath of World War II, he had signed up to the military. So, in 1950 he was due to be sent over to Korea. Before that, though, he was photographed in his army gear.
This was the photo which was ultimately rediscovered many decades later by Thomas’ grandchild Derek. And after it was uploaded to Reddit, the two men were left shocked by how people were reacting. Internet users, it soon became clear, thought that the young Thomas was gorgeous. The image was viewed millions of times, attracting countless complimentary comments.
One person asked Derek, “Did your grandfather serve as a model in the military?” Another, meanwhile, stated plainly, “In 1950, Korea witnessed the most sparkly white teeth to be ever seen by mankind.” But how did Thomas and Fleecie take all this? Well, according to Derek, who spoke to CBS Philadelphia, they were fine with it. “It was very unexpected, but it’s been a fun surprise,” he said. “My grandparents have been enjoying it, I think.”