Hi, I'm Amelia!
I’m a slightly overwhelmed undergrad, scrambling to find time between school in the smallest state in the union and work at a low-rent video store to make a documentary about my grandfather, Carlos. He was a writer who always looked to the future. He’s only passed a short time ago, and I miss him terribly. Read More >

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Better Than Coffee Milk

So Mom and I had a pleasant morning. :) We hysterically laughcried the whole ride from the airport to home. As soon as we walked through the door, we hugged Nora and Sofia and laughcried some more. And while she showered, I made us scrambled omelets. Chocolate chip pancakes. And stirred up some coffee milk. Of course.


Mom meeting my friends

I then found her in the office reading through everyone’s comments and Tweets on the computer, shaking her head and grinning. She wouldn’t stop saying how wonderful all of you were. How she felt like she knows everyone of you. And not just those of you she met at Main Street Cinema like Rachel, Louella, Bobby, Hastin, but those of you who shared yourselves online. So we had breakfast, while reading your accounts of this journey we all took.

After spending a couple of hours, breakfasting and going through Tweets and comments, Mom asked to see the stuff I filmed. I warned her I’m the worst interviewer in the history of amateur documentary filmmaking and my camerawork is a disaster. But she insisted I show her. Mom admitted the footage was tough to watch (she didn’t especially enjoy seeing her crazy hair on camera). But she said she loved my work. Even when I told her she didn’t have to say that, she told me over and over that she did. And if this is what I love doing then I can’t stop now. I have to keep going until I’m doing what I dream. And then we laughcried for another hour or so, pouring through even more Tweets and comments.

Later, I disappeared into the kitchen to wash the dishes. But she stopped me and said to leave them alone and relax, because she wanted to go see Grandpa’s stuff. Right then and there. I asked her if she was sure, and she grabbed the key to Grandpa’s old apartment above the garage. I followed her upstairs with my laptop and pointed out Grandpa’s filing cabinets, which included everything I had shared with all of you. I also pulled out Grandpa’s old record player that Vivian had fixed with binder clips and a rubber band and laid the 1964 World’s Fair record beside it.

Mom said she just needed some time alone. I told her I understood. But I let her know that if she had any questions, she could ask me or read the amazing conclusions you all reached on my blog. Just as I was about to leave her to it, she said she missed Grandpa. So much. And now it’s time she open up to him.

Mom’s up there right now, doing just that. I traded her a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches and lemonade to borrow my laptop back for a bit. I had to write all of you to thank you.

I’m welling up with tears just thinking about how far we’ve come together. I mean, I can barely fathom the idea that two months ago I didn’t know any of you. And now…

Let me just say that it has not always been easy growing up in such a small family. I think I’ve secretly been searching for ways to expand it. And now I have.

Andrew asked early this morning: “What’s next?” Well, Mom and I have got a lot to talk about, so there’s that. I also have finals starting tomorrow. Bleh. And lastly, I have a film to complete, right? That’s what I set out to do from the beginning, and because of you, I can do that. So, in the next week or two, I hope to show you what I’m working on. Because this is your story, just as much as it’s Mom’s, Grandpa’s, and mine.

Even though I have more to share, you all must know – right now – that you all have forever changed my life and the future of my family. You have made tomorrow great, big, beautiful, and awesome, and I love, love, love you dearly for that. You all will be in my heart always.


83 Responses to "Better Than Coffee Milk"

  1. Jason says:

    Don’t go away for too long. We need to have you out there. :)

    • Kalani says:

      I’ve been trying to process things into a more verbose statement than a smiley face… But I’m not sure I have words for it. I have to simply concur with all the other comments thanking you for including us on this wonderful journey and express my intrigue at “what’s next” in a very overall sense.

      • David says:

        Ya’ll know there’s actually a thing called ‘the optimists’ club? I once stopped in a masons lodge in Ohio and saw a banner for it… Think it’s connected?

  2. Natasha says:

    Thank you Amelia, your drive for uncovering the truth and motivations behind your grandpa’s life’s work showed us all how we can use the same drive, fueled by optimism, curiosity and coffee milk, to make our lives more meaningful and make the world a better place for our fellow humans and creatures.

    I look forward to seeing the progress you can now make as a power mother-daughter (+super nap cats!!) team.

    You should tell your mom who you named the cats after now, I think she will really appreciate and support it!

    Good luck with finals!!

  3. Kimberly says:

    That is wonderful that you two have managed to connect over this. I can’t wait to see your video and hear any other stories your Mom remembers about her dad. It sounds like you two have really bonded over all of this.

  4. Christina says:

    This has been so amazing. As remiss as I was to not be able to go to Disneyland and D23 this year, seeing Hastin’s stream and Brigante’s posts and updates have made me feel like I’m there, and this blog is responsible.

    To be entrenched with such amazing people on this mysterious, (sometimes fumbling), exciting adventure…even vicariously separated by at least 800 miles in Seattle has been amazing. To all those involved, cheers!

  5. Stephen says:

    This has been a wonderous journey, and I am so glad that I was there to meet you mom! Cant wait to see your film when you are ready to show it.

  6. Mercedes says:

    *sniffle* Thank you, Amelia, for bringing all this together…even by just simply asking to learn more about your grandfather! Hugs!

  7. Robert says:

    Bobby here, and thank you for everything you have shared with us. Because of you, your mom, her dad, we have a better understanding about today, tomorrow, and the future. I, We, look forward to what’s next.

  8. Roland says:

    *claps* that was an amazing blog you just posted! I have to say, I am happy to hear about how your mother was doing after the meet up at Disneyland. I wish I was there but Im starting college. I wish you two the best of luck and I will have coffee milk in your honor!

  9. Brent says:

    Well it’s been an amazing journey Amelia! I am so happy to have gone on it with you! And through you I’ve found myself. I now know what I’m going to do with he rest of my life. I will become an imagineer! Thank you so much Amelia, Amber has even started a Facebook group called The Optimist society. It really has been an honor!

  10. Brian says:

    Thank you Amelia, this Journey has been an Amazing one, Even though I could not make it to Anaheim for the D23 expo to meet your mom, I feel glad being able to make sense of the things your grandfather had left.

  11. Christopher says:

    This is so lovely, Amelia. I guess all Disney stories have a happy ending, and even though this chapter is definitely ending happily, I prefer viewing this as a happy beginning – a great big beautiful beginning. I can’t wait to see your film in the next few weeks (don’t worry about rushing it, the longer this adventure lasts the better!), and remember not to slack off on Twitter while you do your editing! Anyways, probs. time to hand this back to Mom, but I am so proud to be a part of this adventure. Thank you so much for sharing your family with mine. Tomorrow really only happens when we all work together :D

    - Christopher (Disneyson)

    P.S. You might want to check out that Tomorrowland App Disney just put out – seems like someone in the company saw your and Wallace’s stuff and decided to pull out their OWN clues! We definitely have more work to do as a team, and I bet you and your Mom will have fun working on even more puzzles – together.

    • Kalani says:

      I am sure there are Optimists to be found in the ranks of WDI… Based on the contents of the Dusty Old Box someone there is trying to impart some knowledge.

    • Jody says:

      the tomorrowland app is the audio tour associated with the Tomorrowland exhibit unveiled at the Expo.

  12. Geren says:

    Thank you for the beautiful words, and sharing your true self with all of us. This journey has been inspiring and empowering to honestly reflect on my own life and goals. I know that we have reached a point where this part of the journey has come to an end. With that said, I hope none of us forget what we have seen and accomplished here. Though I hope we don’t, should we lose touch, you all remain in my heart and mind, and when we reconnect in the future, I am sure we will resume our beautiful old patterns. Be well, one and all.

  13. Dale says:

    Amelia,Thank you for allowing us all to share your journey with you. It has been awesome adventure and now both you and your mom can look forward to a better, brighter,beautiful tomorrow. Kind of makes you think of a song? doesn’t it. :-)

  14. Kevin says:

    Thanks so much for your work and perseverance throughout a really fun, fascinating time. I look forward to seeing your work and hearing more from you. I dare say you have taught us more than we’ve taught you.

  15. Carl says:

    Wow, it’s really great to see everything worked out.

  16. Zachary says:

    Amelia, thank you so much for everything. It has been as great 6 weeks. Excited to see the documentary. Be sure to check out this video, highlighting these past weeks: #AlwaysTheOptimist

  17. Dan says:

    This may be OOG, but it may be time to set ourselves up a Wiki for this adventure, I think this is just the first intermission. Can we do this, or do we need clearance from The Powers That Be for the various properties and their respective owners. I don’t know who to contact to ask about this. If you have any tips, send them to me @OswaldTRabbit . (I’ve grabbed TheOptimist.Wikia.Com for us, but I’m not going to do anything until its approved.

    • Kalani says:

      It would be good for us to collect all the info into a more organized and long term reference document(s). There shouldn’t be an issue as it would simply be a factual representation of our story so far. Since you have a site reserved already set it up and post a link. Ill start adding my notes.

      Having said that, Amelia’s blog is still our home base, I’d hate to see us fracture; if you agree perhaps we could plainly state somewhere on the main page the wiki is just a reference.

  18. Brian says:

    Keep us updated on the movie and let us know if we can help you with any new may come upon.
    So glad you and your mom are talking together about Carlos.

  19. Vito says:

    really has it been two months since the journey began? That went way to fast! I’m glad the story had a happy ending.

  20. Dale says:

    Amelia, Thanks for a fantastic adventure and glad that everything worked out for you and your mom . :-)

  21. Christina says:

    Amelia, I am so glad everything worked out with you mom and that I got to be a part of so much of your journey. Your grandfather was an amazing person and I feel like we have so much left to learn. Hope to hear from you soon!

    As for everyone else, I am so happy that I got to meet so many of you and I hope that we stay in touch. After seeing the Tomorrowland exhibit I feel there is still so much more to come from this. Whatever Tomorrowland becomes though it has a special place in my heart because of this experience.

    Thanks everyone!!!
    PS if you’d like to connect: @cbrvo on twitter :)

  22. Hastin says:

    Thank you for this adventure Amelia.

    I’ll admit it fully – I got really emotional (read: Crying) during the finale, and then again when I saw Tanya see it too. This was some of the most fun I’ve had over such a short time, and we can all thank Carlos for the fantastic adventure, and what he helped create. Wallace showed us the way, pulled some strings, and pulled off something amazing. What an adventure.

    Thanks for following me along my adventures. I just wanted to share the fun with as many people as I could.

    I made some new friends (that will last well beyond these adventures), shared many laughs, got a little frustrated, had sleepless nights, ate great Chili, rode a train or two, and had some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. This was truly something special.

    I don’t think our adventures are over, I think that they’ve just begun.

    The Future is Ours!

  23. Chad says:

    Thank you Amelia! this was a really great, fun and emotional adventure. I wish i lived in California so i could have met all of the amazing people involved but even from Arizona i felt like I was involved with something special. Just as you got to bond with your mom, I had a great bonding experience with my Grandma when we were trying to find one of the clues and it was a great experience that i will never forget. Thank you for that

  24. Pierre says:

    Go Amelia! This adventure took the most unexpected twists and turns, but in the end I’m just glad your mother knows how much we all care for her, and her father’s amazing story. Now let’s all work towards that big, bright and beautiful future together. :)

  25. Dustin says:

    Amelia, thank you for letting us complete this Amazing Adventure. It is truly amazing on how connected these unique individuals are to your family and friends. I am also glad that my buddy Bobby AKA W4ffles was there to lend a hand. Wish I myself could have been more help, but through all of this has brought me closer towards my grandparents and search out stories that I hope never get lost. Have fun Amelia and #alwaystheoptimist

  26. Rob says:

    I, too, think this feels more like a brief pause than a real “ending”. Can’t wait to find out what else is in store for you, Amelia. I hope you’re ready for more adventure!

  27. Geren says:

    Nora and Sofia are today’s google image. Plus the Schrodinger’s cat reference, being metascientific is appropriate! Ok, back to work I go. Silly.

  28. Kris says:

    Aww I am so happy for you Amelia and I can’t wait to see where your filming career takes you!

  29. Matthew says:

    It was so great to meet your mom! She was so nice. I am glad I was able to be there and I can’t wait to hear soon about what you uncover in more of your grandpa’s stuff!

  30. Vonn says:

    What an amazing adventure this was. As an AZ resident I couldn’t be there first hand until the D23|expo week, but am SO thankful for everyones optimistic and adventurous spirit that made the lead-in to the expo adventure so much richer. I found myself directly behind who I believe was Hastin coming out of one of the Walt Disney Pictures events in the arena and I was speechless just as I am with many other Disney celebrities – he’s been an amazing team leader for this whole new community of like-minded optimistic people… many of whom are now privileged members of something great. Thanks to my good friend Denise, we finished our quest late on Saturday evening. I am sorry we missed all of you at the cinema, but am glad to have experienced this journey of progress and a hint of something amazing to still come. Thanks Amelia and Wallace (and everyone one else)!

  31. Amber says:

    So glad to hear your mom is on board with the research about your grandfather! We didn’t make it when she arrived but were instead amongst a group that saw her as she came out of the cinema so were able to wish her safe travels. Luckily Hastin was able to keep us in the loop, I just hope she wasn’t too startled to see us all outside waiting for her!
    I’m intrigued to hear what more she remembers now. I know she’s previously said she didn’t know anything but I suspect she knows more than realizes! We’re all very anxious to see where your story, our story goes from here.

  32. Rachel says:

    Aw, Amelia! I am so glad to hear that you and your mom are doing well. I knew everything would work out for you in the end, and I am just so happy to be able to say I helped you with that along the way.
    Being there to meet your mom the other night was such a huge surprise for me and I feel so grateful that I could shake her hand and be able to tell her how much you (and all of us) have been waiting eagerly to show her everything about her father. I got emotional seeing your mom cry. But in the good, heartwarming kind of way!

    Like many others have said–I don’t see this as an end, but more of a beginning. Now you and your mom can learn more about your grandfather together, and I know you two will only bond closer with time. It sounds like this has been a really good thing for you and your mom, and I am so happy for the two of you!

    Please take your time with your video and with finals. I can’t wait to hear how they both go for you! Your video especially is something i am excited for. Don’t go away for too long though! I’ll miss you!

    Best wishes and lots of love,

  33. Brian says:

    Began listening to the Album again you sent us Amelia and I love every moment of it. For those who want to relive it or haven’t heard it, I’ve recorded it and included the hidden messages.

  34. Louella says:

    Amelia, I hope this picture of your mom says it all! The awe and wonderment in her face is what I and a lot of other Optimists felt that night as well. It was so wonderful to meet your mom, Tanya that night. It was also such an amazing sight to see so many Optimists in one place. I feel honored to have been there at that moment. It truly has been a pleasure to help you on this journey. Thank you so much for allowing me to be involved and for letting me visit so many fabulous places. I not only learned a lot about the past, present, and future, but also about how great people are. I have met so many kind hearted people along the way, people I would have never met had it not been for this adventure. I will miss you and all my new friends so much. Thank you for one of the best rides of my life! Love and Optimism, Louella

  35. David says:

    Hey Amelia, I’ve just gotten caught up reading your blog and WOW, what an incredible story. It’s been amazing to see (in condensed form) both the emotional journey you and your mother have taken as well as this potentially world changing information about the Society and their mysterious “City.”

    As I said, I’ve been attempting to catch up, so I haven’t had time to read through the hundreds of comments posted on this blog (that in itself is worthy of another “WOW”), so I apologize if I’m asking redundant questions, but here’s what I am interested in: what happened to the society? It seems like a lot of this culminated in 1964 with an active push for recruitment as well as secret projects for “Society eyes only,” but what has happened since then? A lot of the documents allude to (at the time) far-flung technologies such as the internet and smart phones, but could the Society have been responsible for those? Could people like Tim Berners-Lee or Steve Jobs been later members of the Society?

    I know these are a lot of questions all in a row, but as you’ve noted before: for as many answers as this research has yielded, it’s come with even more questions.

    Looking forward to seeing what else you have in store for us. Best of luck!

  36. Katherine says:

    It was so amazing meeting your mom and being in the theater as she watched the culmination of everything. It really helped make this journey unforgettable and I hope it continues.

  37. Fred says:

    Hi Amelia!

    I am SO sorry that I couldn’t make it for this last meet-up, but I’m glad that everything is going well for you and your mom. :)

  38. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the adventure. See you in the future!

  39. Ricky says:

    Wow is the right word for this adventure. It’s been a wonderful ride you’ve led us on, Amelia. Thanks for sharing your story and that of your grandfather and your mother.

    I’ve met some great people along the way and had a tremendous amount of fun. And the events that occurred during the D23 Expo were unforgettable. Sadly I did not get to meet your mom, as the fantastic Sherman/Menken concert ran long. But it’s clear she was as stunned as we all were at all that has emerged from what began so simply.

    For those who need a recap of all that transpired, I offer my own report of the finale events, with a 24-minute video featuring the hunt through Anaheim:

    Thanks to all who helped me throughout the experience. I hope this isn’t the end. I doubt it will be.

  40. Nick says:

    Being there for your mother is a moment I’ll never forget, Amelia. What an adventure.

    Inspired by the incredible events of this past weekend, I proposed on Twitter that Wallace by made a playable character in the new Disney Infinity game! For all of our non-twitter Optimists:

  41. Catherine says:

    I’m so happy that you and your mother are doing well! And Nick, love the Disney Infinity character! I kinda feel inspired to build something in the game to represent this adventure once it’s released. :)

    • Robert says:

      Well, we could always build the Tomorrowland that we’ve learned about through our journey. Starting with Edison Square. 4 people can play together/build together. If we can build a great tomorrow both in the real world and the game, we can continuing what the Society is about.
      During the Panel, they showed off a rebuilt Disneyland that will be avalible to download when the game in launched. So we just need to change tommorrowland.

  42. Sharon says:

    Amelia, Tanya,Carlos, thanks for all the fun. I enjoyed the adventure from the start, was able to get to the Expo and meet Wallace, but sadly not able to make it to the final adventure. So glad your mom made it out and was able to meet up with a few fellow Optimists. I followed in their footsteps after the Expo when I got to Disneyland on Monday and that was exciting enough. P.S. Hastin I cried when I met Wallace, both times,

  43. Lauren says:

    This has been amazing! Amelia, you are awesomesauce!

  44. Mark says:

    This has been an exciting trip! I didn’t get to visit Walt’s haunts, but I have been keeping up with all the on-going action, and I finished the quest at Disneyland on Sunday, after visiting Wallace on Friday.

    We all should keep in touch, because this is not the end of our adventure. Many Disney fans I know didn’t hear about The Optimist. Has anyone created a place where our society members can gather and share experiences? A sub-reddit perhaps? Only one member of /r/Disney mentioned The Optimist.

    We need to stick together. The future belongs to us!

  45. Victoria says:

    This was so exciting! Unfortunately I was not able to join in the fun but it was awesome to read about what was going on. I can’t wait to see the documentary Amelia! :-)

  46. JB says:

    Sorry I didn’t get to meet your mom, but I love the stories and how everyone is so helpful to each other. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

  47. Amy says:

    I miss this! I keep checking the blog periodically to see if there’s anything new!

    • Jennifer says:

      I do too, Amy! I hope Amelia isn’t gone. I’m hoping we will be provided more incredible WDI finds. I still have so many unanswered questions. Amelia, we are sponges and we are thirsty for more tidbits.

      • Adam says:

        I hope Amelia hasn’t forgotten about us and to show us the sneak peek at current progress on the documentary too.

      • Christina says:

        I do this too! It was so great while it lasted! Someone should spool up a forum or wordpress just for the optimists. :)

        • Catherine says:

          There are two groups on Facebook with loads of Optimists keeping in touch. Come join us in ” The Optimist Society” and “The + U Lounge” !

  48. robert says:

    We are still here excitingly awaiting the out come of your film. Hope to see it soon or at least how far you have gotten.

  49. Hastin says:

    Amelia just posted that we should see the documentary next week!

    Very excited to see what you’ve come up with, and how you’re going to tell your Grandfather’s (and our) story!

    • Stephen says:

      I can’t wait!!!

      • Ryan says:

        Hastin, thanks for not forgetting us facebookless, twitterless, optimists here. Fun to hear the story continues. I am sharing this adventure one step at a time with a group now, more recruits for +u hopefully!


  50. CYNTHIA says:

    Awesome! So happy to hear from Amelia and new Optomist friends!

  51. Geren says:

    As the week draws to a close, we remain optimistic that our dear friend Amelia will share her heartfelt creation with us. We remain dedicated to the spirit of this journey. Your contribution is the key to the next step in our ongoing commitment. We stand at the ready.

    • Amelia says:

      Thanks, Geren and everyone, for your undying optimism. It’s SO helpful and inspiring. It’s also why I’ve been working super hard, trying to make it just right. :)

      • Geren says:

        Sorry to push you, Amelia. I can’t help but share your excitement, and desire to stay connected to you, your grandfather, your mother, and the other Optimists. I do not want to rush you, and frankly, you’ve give us so much to appreciate and believe in so far. When the time is right, we look forward to anything you may wish to share with us. Be well.

  52. Brian says:

    I can’t wait! Hopefully Amelia’s video is uploaded tonight like she promised!

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