The Lost Generation of Revere, Mass.

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Addiction

An old friend from the Point of Pines, Revere, sent me a note some time ago. He came across my post on Zane Mead and another on the Bridge Rats gang. For him, they brought up more memories of kids from the neighborhood who died young. Mood music: I’ll keep his name and certain details out to protect his privacy, but here’s some of what he wrote to me: I came across your piece in…  [Read More]

The Spoiled Brat, the Whiney Mom and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner June 10, 2014 Family

Parents screw up. I certainly do. Most acknowledge a mistake when they make it. So when someone leaves a 4 year old in the car and writes a rambling essay about all the legal woe that came of it, I struggle to sympathize. Mood music: Kim Brooks writes about her mistake in in the essay “The Day I Left My Son in the Car.” She writes of a harrowing morning getting her kids on a plane…  [Read More]

Happy Birthday to a Joyful Little Soul

by Bill Brenner March 18, 2014 Family

Three years ago today, my nephew Owen was born. We just celebrated his third birthday, but I wanted to say a little something here. Think of it as my personalized birthday card to him. First, a video for Owen’s amusement, which also has some good advice: Let me tell you a few things about Owen: He is one of the most joyful souls I’ve ever met. He’s always laughing, excited by every new wonder. He used…  [Read More]

To Duncan on His 14th Birthday

by Bill Brenner September 14, 2013 Children's issues

Note: I’ve often written notes to my kids on their birthday. This was originally written when Duncan turned 1o. An open letter to my second child on his 10th birthday… Mood Music: At 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2003, I was jolted awake by your mom shoving me in the shoulder. I had just gone to bed 45 minutes earlier, and I had had a lot of wine the night before. You weren’t expected for…  [Read More]

Sending Our Kids to Another School

by Bill Brenner August 9, 2013 Family

After weeks of agonizing, debating, praying and researching, Erin and I made the painful but necessary decision to move the kids from the only school they’ve ever known to someplace new. Mood music: In three weeks, Sean and Duncan won’t be starting school at St. Joseph’s in Haverhill. Instead, they’re going to St. Augustine’s in Andover. We love the St. Joe’s community and always will. But the bottom line is that both boys have extra…  [Read More]

The Importance of Family in a Family Business

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2013 Family

For as long as I can remember, it hung on the wall outside the front offices of the family business, right next to the timecards: a memorial plaque for the company’s founder, the man I’m named for: William J. Brenner. I always found the plaque somewhat disconcerting to look at because there was my full name and the “In Memory of …” I’ve gotten creeped out in similar fashion whenever I’ve visited the grave. Mood music:…  [Read More]

A Benevolent Dictatorship

by Bill Brenner June 10, 2013 Family

My kids learned a new term this weekend: benevolent dictatorship. It’s Erin’s way of describing the way of the household. We’re the parents, we make the rules and the boys don’t get to move the goal posts around. For the sake of Erin’s sanity and my own OCD management, it’s become necessary that the children understand this. Mood music: Kids will be kids. Our boys leave their dirty clothes all over the floor and Lego…  [Read More]

Why I Skipped #ShmooCon — Again

by Bill Brenner February 16, 2013 Family

Like last year, a lot of people have asked me why I’m not at the ShmooCon security conference in Washington D.C. After all, it is one of my favorite events. Mood music: [spotify:track:3xMZrNrfyKUUqQVtoR13ml] Simply put, it’s too close to the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco the week after next. Being away from home for multiple days for two weeks inside a month is simply more than my family can handle these days. Last year…  [Read More]

Dad Update, Part 2

by Bill Brenner September 3, 2012 Family

Thanks for all your continued prayers and well wished for my father. I quick update: Though he does have cardiovascular disease — he has for years — that wasn’t the cause of his hospitalization after all. It turns out a stomach infection was the culprit behind his lungs filling with fluid. That’s the theory they’re working with for the moment. Either way, it was infection-related and not the result of a heart attack. I took…  [Read More]

Update on Dad

by Bill Brenner August 28, 2012 Family

Thanks to everyone who left prayers for Dad on my Facebook page yesterday, and thanks to my sister-in-law Robin for dropping everything to watch the kids so Erin and I could go to the hospital last night. Mood music: [spotify:track:7gUfl0F0N9YE4XC3FKkfy8] Dad had emergency surgery last night for a malfunctioning heart. In the end, it turned out the heart was pumping fine, but that the blood has nowhere to go. All but one artery is blocked,…  [Read More]