Wesley’s Sweater: Then and Now

Earlier this year, at a convention in New York City, a guy brought me this picture to sign for him.

Wesley Crusher's Sweater 1987

That’s me in 1987, wearing one of Wesley Crusher’s first sweaters.

As I reached for my pen, he reached into a bag he was carrying, and took out … that sweater, which he’d bought at an auction.

“OH MY SWEET BABY JESUS!” I may have shouted, “I NEED TO TAKE A PICTURE RIGHT NOW.”

So this happened:

Wil Wheaton holds Wesley Crusher's 1987 Sweater

As I held that sweater for the first time in 25 years, a flood of memories washed over me: the first day I worked on Next Generation, on Stage 16, walking through Farpoint Station with Gates … the first time I walked through the Enterprise, on stage 9, pretending that it was a real spaceship … the first time I walked into the bridge, while it was still being built on stage 6 … the first few months of working on Star Trek, being part of something I’d loved my entire life, and wearing truly awful sweaters in the middle of summer.

All my peers got to wear awesome spacesuits,  and I was in these ridiculous things that were never cool, in any century, including the 24th.  I remembered how happy I was when Wesley was promoted to Acting Ensign, and I knew that I wouldn’t have to put on one of those hideous sweaters ever again.

That’s when I got an idea.

There’s this thing on the Internet where people will post a picture that was taken in, say, 1987, and then recreate the picture in our modern times. I looked down at the sweater in my hands, and I knew what I had to do.

Wil Wheaton wears Wesley Crusher's 1987 sweater in 2013

I’m not gonna lie, Marge: putting that sweater on again felt strange, but also good.

Here they are, side by side:

Wesley's Sweater Then and Now

I love that I can still do that goofy smile — which was 100% genuine, because I was as excited to be on the Enterprise as Wesley Crusher was — all these years later. And though it felt pretty good to be temporarily reunited with an old friend, it felt even better to take that sweater off for the last time.

47 thoughts on “Wesley’s Sweater: Then and Now”

    1. As did shoulder width. Amazing that Wil managed to even get that thing on, truly amazing. ;-)

  1. That is awesomecakes.

    And I love that it’s not just about getting you to sign something – it’s about sharing a memory with you.

    Well done, NYC convention-goer. :-)

    (And that is a marvelously awful sweater. Glorious, really.)

  2. Seeing you that young makes me think of Jaime Hubbard. The crushes of a 14 year old boy knows no time frame.

    Also, I have a wordpress and Facebook but I can’t log in here with either of them, forcing me to use my twitter. In a 2nd tab I have my wordpress open so I know I’m signed in but it still won’t let me comment here with it.

  3. Oh, what wonderful memories this brings up. Thank you Wil. I know you probably hate the sweater, but I’m a professional knitter and I love that sweater and all the others you wore in that show. It isn’t easy making sweaters look ‘futuristic’.

    1. This is EXACTLY what I thought when I saw it. Since you wrote it, I’ll just “ditto” it and say Wil Wheaton, THIS is so much win and why we love you so much. You’re willingness to go forth into the areas of life that you love even though it’s “the sweater.” You reminded me of Nathan Fillion there for a moment…knowing it had to be done and willingly doing it for the cause (and the million smiles you knew it would bring). You’re second from the top of my “Awesome beyond belief” list (no one can take the place of Nathan [sigh]). A million thank yous. :)

    1. That was the sweater from “Justice,” and if you go back and look at episode stills on Google Image Search, you’ll see the sweater definitely had the shoulder rolls. It really was an exceedingly awful sweater.

  4. Isn’t it wonderful that having survived being a child that had to wear what my parents pulled out for “special family functions”, and now I as a parent – I can do the same thing to my kid. Hurrah to parents – even pretend space parents on the Enterprise.

  5. I was sitting here feeling kind of down as I recover from some painful surgery. I was online and I saw a Twitter post about Wil’s story of his prodigal sweater. I left behind the tragic news of the shooting in DC to visit this page. Reading this brought a smile to my face as this is a great story about Wil’s personal connection to his TNG experience which reminds me of my college days spent watching his adventures aboard the Big E. This is a nice reminder that Wil Wheaton is one classy gentleman and why he has such a huge following on this planet. Thanks for sharing this encounter from your past with us.

  6. I know you don’t get a chance to check the Facebook comments much, so I thought I’d crosspost this one for you:

    Carolan Magnoli Prisco says, “glad to see you still look back on that moment with a smile. my daughter and i were the ones who brought the sweater. so when did i become a guy? lol! thats ok, i know u meet a lot of people and were probably distracted by the sexy brown sweater!”

  7. This was nifty-keen! (I’m trying to curtail my over-use of the word “Awesome.”) I’m trying to figure out what color that sweater is, precisely…

    Another reason I’m a fan! Stay classy, Wil!

  8. Love that the fan had this and brought the picture and that you made their decade by doing this for them. How fun! Thanks for sharing. It makes me smile a lot.

  9. This just made my day. I have so much love for your smile in the “after” photo, but also think the one of you holding the sweater is simply teeming with WIN. Thanks for sharing and making me smile along with you :)

  10. I really hope that fan walked away saying “I have Wil Wheaton’s DNA! I can grow my own Wil Wheaton!” ;)

    Awesome for you & also awesome of you to give that fan that experience.

  11. That is just beyond awesome. I haven’t been here in so long, which is strange since it used to be like my internet home years ago. You know we are all still very close. This cyber destination was the catalyst for connecting so many lives together. No matter how long I go between dropping by, reading your posts always makes me smile. BTW you still owe me and the hubby dinner. :)

    *love to you and Anne*
    Nephy

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