Earlier this year, at a convention in New York City, a guy brought me this picture to sign for him.
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:
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.
I’m not gonna lie, Marge: putting that sweater on again felt strange, but also good.
Here they are, side by side:
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.