Danna Moller D'Asaro

Profile Updated: September 25, 2009
Residing In: Seattle, WA USA
Spouse/Partner: Eric D'Asaro
Children: Matthew, born 1987.
Laura, born 1990.
Comments:

Sorry to say, I won’t be at the reunion. I’ve had chronic fatigue syndrome and various health issues for fifteen years, so have to take things very easy. However, here is a detailed (ok, long-winded) history for any who are interested.

Some of you had my dad, Rudy Moller, for your 5th grade teacher at Harbor Heights. After retiring, he worked to turn the Purdy Sandspit and other land into parks. He and my mother donated their property (where I grew up) to create Sunrise Beach County Park, and my parents continued to live in the house. My dad died in 1994 at age 80. Mom (Ruth) was always helping everyone else right up until she died of cancer in 2007, at age 87. Both loved their grandkids!

Back to 1969...

I went to Whitman College in Walla Walla for two years, and did not like it much. Students were expected to dress up for class, and most were in fraternities and sororities, which did not interest me. We also had formal dinners twice a week. I got around that by joining the dishwashing crew, which was lots of fun, and we got to wear old clothes and eat early.

Western was much better, informal, with good teachers, and I loved Bellingham. This was, of course, at the height of the hippie / alternative era, which I also loved. I got my first 10-speed, bicycled everywhere, and became a vegetarian. After the first quarter of my senior year, not knowing what I wanted to major in and running out of money, I dropped out and soon found a job in Tacoma working at a bicycle shop. I liked that a lot, became a master bike mechanic, and worked there for two years, eventually becoming the store manager as well. However, I wanted to finish college, so went back to Western, where I took my first computer class and became obsessed. Getting a computer science degree would have required an extra two years, though, so I graduated in June, 1975 with a major in German and a minor in math.

Bellingham was such a nice place that I wanted to stay. I got a CETA job with the city engineering department and worked as an engineering assistant, doing drafting, making blueprints, going out on inspections, and joining the survey crew when they were short-handed. The job was fun, but the funding ended in the fall of 1978.

My boyfriend at the time, Steve, suggested we should head down the coast and check out jobs in California and maybe Arizona. We put a tent and a few things in his car and took off at the beginning of December. We had a great time camping, hiking, and sightseeing, and ended up in Tucson, where I worked as an engineering assistant for a mining company. Mostly I did computer work, writing programs to automate a number of tasks which they were still doing by hand, with calculators. And, Tucson’s big bonus for me – the University of Arizona had an outstanding computer science department, so I got a master’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering. It was great spending time in the desert, getting to know the flora and fauna, hiking, taking the occasional trip to the California coast, and being close to Mexico.

After graduating in 1981, I headed back to Seattle and worked for Data General (a computer company) and then for Microsoft before they went public. I never did learn much about Windows – they were still using DOS, and I did OEM customer support for Compaq, HP, Tandy and all the other personal computer companies of the day, supporting DOS and Unix. When I got a computer, it was (and still is) a Mac. Nor did I make millions like some employees. I left to start a family shortly after Microsoft went public, and owned only a few shares of stock.

I met my husband, Eric D’Asaro, at a folk dance at the end of 1982. He is a UW professor who does research in ocean physics. Probably his coolest ongoing project is dropping instruments out of airplanes, ahead of hurricanes. Actually, he sits at home by a computer while pilots who know what they are doing fly the C-130s or similar planes. Each instrument parachutes down, and after landing in the ocean, stays a few meters below the surface taking data. Later they surface and radio the data back by satellite.

Being a mom is the best job I’ve ever had or could ever imagine, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I planned to go back to work after the kids were in school, but I got chronic fatigue syndrome and wasn’t able to, and although I’m sorry I didn’t have more energy when the kids were growing up, I am very, very lucky to have been able to spend so much time with them.

Matthew is a senior at UW, majoring in electrical engineering. He was born in November, 1987, and was taking things apart before he could talk. At two years old his favorite toy was a dial telephone which he would dismantle into little pieces and then demand that we put it back together. A year later he could put it, and many other things, back together himself. In elementary school he helped me fix fifty used computers to put into the classrooms, and helped wire the school for internet. In middle school, he fixed the irrigation system and an old computer-controlled milling machine and helped teach the CAD/CAM class. In high school he took photography and repaired all the broken cameras and darkroom equipment. And, of course, he ended up being the main computer technician for his high school. This summer he is working as an engineer at a firm which builds scientific sensors. He has been enjoying doing some real engineering for once, as opposed to taking classes. And, wouldn’t you know it, the head of maintenance came to him the other day, having heard he could fix things. A chiller had gone down, bringing one whole production line to a halt. None of the in-house technicians could figure out what was wrong, and sending it to the factory would be very costly. Could Matthew take a look at it? This was on Friday afternoon. Well, long story short, he ordered a couple parts and fixed the main controller board himself. They got the parts Monday morning, and Matthew had it back up and running by noon. Yeah, I’m proud of him. And I suspect that he will always be able to get a job, no matter what the economy looks like.

Laura, born in November, 1990, just left for college, and we miss her a lot. She has always been the center of excitement and non-stop activity in the household. Laura is full of ideas, and the media loves her. She first got her picture published in 5th grade, in Discovery Girls magazine, wearing a dozen helium balloons in her long hair. After 9th grade, she ran a lemonade stand and raised $13,500 to refurbish our local playground. She was in the Seattle Times and PI, on the TV news, and on a radio talk show, as well as in a PBS show about social entrepreneurship. Her junior year, with Relay for Life, Laura raised over $4,000 for cancer research by breaking the world record for the fastest time to crawl a mile on hands and knees, thus getting in the media again. She had an entire crowd of people shouting encouragement as she crawled for 22+ minutes. Laura also excels at making costumes. During four years of high school spirit weeks, she made and wore about 40 amazing costumes. Eight-foot high saguaro cactus, lion in a cage, pink convertible, giant ice cream cone. I can only shake my head in wonder. She was on the Mayor’s youth council two years, was ASB VP, president of two service clubs at school, and still managed to find time to study. I guess the colleges liked all this. She turned down both the UW honors program and Stanford, and chose Harvard, which seems to be exactly the right place for her. She loves everything about Harvard – the campus, her roommates, her classes. Yeah, I’m proud of her, too. And true to form, a few days after Laura arrived, they published her picture on the back cover of the Harvard Gazette.

With a bit less going on, now that both kids are in college, I’m hoping to have some time and energy available. Perhaps I’ll take a fun class, go on a short nature walk, or read one of the books that have been piling up.

School Story:

I thought I didn't remember much about high school until everyone's stories started jogging my memory, and a lot of it came bubbling back up to the surface...

First day of high school, first class: Home ec. with Miss Schlee. Most hated class of my high school career. I tried to take wood shop instead, and the counselors would have let me, but it was a state law that to graduate from high school, all girls had to take home ec. Most of us were expected to become housewives, and we were instructed to watch the clock, put dinner on the stove, then go change clothes and freshen up so we would be pretty when our hardworking husbands and masters of the house came home.

German class with Miss ?? who didn't know a lot of German, but was nice and the boys all thought she was hot. They taped a pinup picture to the window shade for her to find when she rolled it down, preparatory to showing a movie.

Mrs. Crook. What can I say? Besides teaching us Chaucer and Shakespeare, she was a lot of fun. I remember her taking us to see Lysistrata by Aristophanes, a very funny and sexually explicit play. I was sitting near her, and looked over to see what I thought would be a disapproving look, only to discover that she was laughing as hard as anyone.

Archery with Mrs. Martin. It was always a bit scary, since no one knew how to use the bows properly and the arrows went way off course, but no one ever got shot. She kept a pretty close eye on us.

Skipping German class one beautiful sunny afternoon with the other fifth-year students. Herr Schock wasn't too mad when we told him we had spoken German the whole time we were out walking, but he told us not to do it again because he couldn't have everyone walking out of class.

Electronics class with Mr. Harrison. I learned a lot, had fun, and have found the knowledge to be very useful. I'm also very grateful to him for teaching me math. I'm sure the athletes weren't too pleased with him at times, though. He always thought math tests were more important than basketball (football, baseball) games.

Trigonometry and Physics with Mr. McNeely. The class often tried to get him telling stories instead of teaching, and in the end we learned the class material as well as a lot of other things from him.

Vending machine - we weren't allowed to have candy, cookies, or pop, but we got a vending machine with apples. Then we got the student center and the concession stand. I never formally worked at the concession stand, but I filled in sometimes, and loved the ice cream and milkshake machines.

All the wonderful school plays. I was not in the least bit theatrical, but loved to watch performances by those who were. Thanks, guys!

Camping, hiking, outings, both officially sanctioned through Hiking Club, and just on our own, were probably my favorite, along with waterskiing and get-togethers. We had a lot of great times.

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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Danna, forty years later.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Matthew, Laura, Danna, Eric. The ground is sloped. Actually, Laura is as tall as I am, and Matthew is Big - about 6'6".
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Matthew fixing a fluorescent light fixture.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Laura in our yard.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Sister Sharon (Sherry), brother Ron, and me (Danna).
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Laura and myself with our beloved Samoyed, Meshka, who died at the end of April.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Meshka does not want to be left out. Laura and Matthew with me on my birthday.