Misty Matern and her 15 year-old son Comfrey Biafra Jacobs sit casually across from each other at the MobileBooth table. Before the conversation starts, Comfrey entertains both Misty and I with some beat boxing. When I press record, Comfrey is ready to listen to a story he knows very well: Buster the School Bus. Misty birthed Comfrey in this bus all by herself at 1:50 am on March 21, 1993. It still sits – charming, rusty, and visible from the highway – in their front yard in Palisade.
When Misty found out she was pregnant, she bought the 1953 converted Chevy Short school bus for $500 and left Denver for the countryside. The bus had orange shag carpeting and lots of olive green. “It was ugly, but I saw potential,” Misty says with a nostalgic smirk.
She parked Buster on Gold Hill Road and turned the bus into a home. “There used to be a bed that took up half of it, two closets in the back, a desk, a small stove and a small sink area which had pipes that ran into a five gallon bucket to catch waste water. There was also an outhouse.”
The night Misty gave birth to Comfrey she was reading Dr. Seuss when her water broke. Comfrey’s father left the bus to bring the midwife in a hurry. Five minutes later they returned. It was too late. “There we were,” she says to Comfrey, “Standing there. I was shaking from head to toe, holding a baby that to my relief opened his mouth and screamed his head off. The dogs licked you clean.”
Since the birth, Misty and Comfrey have moved into a larger home on Highway 6. The bus now rests between a pick-up truck and a trampoline, a cozy respite for pregnant cats. “I will never sell the bus,” Misty says with certainty. “It runs fantastic. The engine is in perfect shape. It needs tires. It needs brakes. It needs a clutch.”
“Sometimes I sit in the driver’s seat to escape the chaos of the house,” says Comfrey. “I always had a vision that if I got a good band started with my friends, we would use it as a tour bus.” Misty welcomes this idea.