I went to the corn maze at 2:15, after hearing TLC was scheduled to be there at 4:00, just in case they decided to follow through and went early. I ran into a musician I know and we talked by one of the fires for a while, and then I decided to navigate the maze. I proceded to get lost and was finding my way out by focusing on the distant barns, when around 3:00 I heard a ruccus in the parking lot three rows of corn over. The big blue van was there and Steve was outside. Then the kids starting piling out of the back and Kate stepped out, ready for her wild romp in the corn field in perfect makeup and hair, a stylish jacket and black leggings with stilletto high heeled boots, natch. Isn't that what all the moms wear when they go a-trudgin' through the countryside muck and mire?
They were entering the corn field while I was still inside and they came, headed by TLC cameramen, right into my row, so I stepped aside into a cut-in in the corn row to let them film without obstruction. Steve stopped in front of me, made eye contact and said Hello politely. Kate then came directly in front of me and stopped to give the kids instructions, lots of instructions. Don't break the corn, stay in the rows, are sunflowers edible or not, who knows the answer? Doesn't the woman ever have a normal conversation with her children that isn't a lesson or reprimand? The one thing I didn't hear was "have fun," which is my number one instruction to my kids at all times when we go to a place like a corn maze. The little ones looked like they were afraid to make a move without her strict guidance.
The kids and crew and Kate and Steve passed me several times as we all walked through the maze. Kate did not make eye contact with anyone except Steve, that I saw anyway, although twice she stood three feet from me and I clearly could see that her eyes are very brown during a circumstance where most folks would at least turn and say Hi or acknowledge you with eye contact. She occasionally complained that people were asking her to walk too fast since she was in skinny high heels, and at one point as she walked away I giggled to myself as a long strand of corn husk attached to her stiletto was quite reminiscent of a long piece of stray toilet paper one might unknowingly have under their shoe as they exited a bathroom. She exuded no warmth whatsoever, even when dealing with her children. At one point Steve asked me who I was with and I said, "No one, just myself," and he smiled and walked away. I got the feeling he was more curious than bothered by my presence. He had a warm persona, was about 5'9" and very attractive in person.
The children were adorable, very small and well behaved. They looked like they really wanted to cut loose and run and play, but that was not to be. There were about four TLC camera people there and they were challenged by trying to film all the kids, so they broke into teams and went running through the corn field, crashing through the rows and breaking stalks along the way. They would get a distance from the kids and then yell for the kids to try to find them so they could film them running and having fun, oblivious of the maze paths. This lasted for about fifteen minutes. The kids never got to actually finish the maze. When the filming was over the kids were collected back at the maze exit. Alas, it was another example of Kate working while the kids merely "played" in front of the cameras.
(Kate and Steve are leading the way in this image.)
As we all neared the maze exit, Kate was starting to freak out. "They're congregating out there!" she shrieked to Steve, indicating she didn't know how they were ever going to get out through the crowd, while I wondered what invisible crowd she was so worried about. I went to my car to put chapstick on, planning to go back into the play area and witness the filming and toast some marshmallows while sitting with my musician friend, but instead of getting to hang out and play and do things like go for a horse and carriage ride, the kids were whisked quickly back into the big van. The whole event was nothing but a photo opportunity, and when it was over the kids were put back in the van and taken home, no doubt wondering when the fun would begin. You would have thought it was a papparazi nightmare from how Kate acted, when it was really only about 20 locals, including mostly small children, who were curious but polite and minding their own business. A family passed me on the way to their car and the husband said to the wife, about how Kate whisked the kids into the van, "That was ridiculous!" As soon as the kids were in the van it took off, no doubt leaving the children wondering what all those strange yet lucky people were doing back there, smiling with all those marshmallows and hot dogs on long sticks.
(A bored horse and carriage driver wonders why those poor eight kids don't get to come have a nice carriage ride like all the other kids did.)
As I was entering my car Chris the paps passed me and said, "Hi, I've seen you before, at the house," (I spoke with him on Easter Day as reported at that time) and I said, "Yes, you're Chris." He said, "Yes," and I said, "I'm Polly." I don't think he put it together since I didn't introduce myself as Werny Gal. (There were some funny incidents over the summer where various people on the scene were trying to figure out who that blogger "Werny Gal" was, and I was accused of being everyone from Al to Dana Hoffman.) Chris hightailed it out of the parking lot in hot pursuit of the big blue van while I ended the convoy headed back toward Wernersville. I last saw them as I pulled into a side street toward home, with Chris still trailing his prey up 422 East.
(Chris with dollar signs in his eyes.)
This event confirmed everything I have heard about what filming is like for the kids. Film is shot, edited and aired to make it look like the kids are having a good time but it is all fabricated for the show. This was not a fun event for the kids, except for a couple of brief moments when the crew called them from afar so they could run and find them in the corn. They never actually got to experience the corn maze, and they didn't get to hang out and enjoy the entire normal corn maze experience of roasting hotdogs or marshies, etc. There was no interaction with other children, and everything was strictly controllled by Kate. I sincerely doubt this event will result in any happy memories for these children.
Speaking of Dana Hoffman, this has nothing to do with the above incident, but I heard she was at Austin's eating lunch yesterday when who came in causing a huge ruccus but Kate and Steve with the kids. They sat right across from Dana and didn't know who she was. According to my source, Dana said it ruined her whole lunch.
(I'm adding this picture of the corn maze ducks for PamelaJaye, just because I want to.)