Memorial for Frank Cozzarelli, Beta Alpha (NJIT)

Life is Like a Cup of Tea

By John Franklin


As I sit here, remembering the life of an incredible man, I’m having a cup of tea. Steeped impeccably, with a little milk, it reminds me of my grandfather.

See, my grandfather taught me how to make the exact cup of tea in front of me. To most people, a cup of tea is just some boiled water, with some milk, and maybe sugar and that’s it. To Frank Cozzarelli, making a cup of tea was an art form.

You boil your water, and you put your tea bag in for two minutes exactly. Then, you put milk in until it puffs up in the cup, and no sugar.

In a way, that cup of tea is exactly how my pop lived his life.

To perfection.

On the outside, life can seem simple. It’s a blank canvas, or in this case, an empty cup, and what you do with it is up to you.

Some people just go through it with no desire to put anything in the cup. Others might fill it recklessly with no regard to making the tea taste full. My pop found a way to make his cup of tea of life practically perfect in every way.

Every day of his life, my pop got up, did his hair how he liked it, put on a suit and tie (of course a full Windsor knot), and went to work. He was also a great story teller. He could capture you with any of his stories, and he could tell each one without forgetting a single part.

It was a life that spanned 91 years, and not a single day of it went without love. My pop loved his wife Angie, each of his six children, and every one of his grandchildren every day of his life. He taught us how to love the same way, how to be compassionate, and how to care for one another.

It’s a life that most would wish for, and he got to live it. My grandfather spent over 33,000 days on this earth, and not a single one went unlived.

It’s difficult to lose the ones you love, and it’s hard to encompass 91 years into a single piece of writing, but the ease of it comes when the ones around you remind you of the person you lost.

I’ll never hear my grandfather sing, “Heigh-Ho” on the way to work again, I’ll never see him wear a suit again, and I’ll never hear him tell me another one of his famous stories, but that’s okay.

My grandfather touched the lives of his children, and his grandchildren, and each of us are an extension of him. We each carry a piece of him with us, and that’s something we all should be proud of.

Each time I sing, I’ll remember him singing “Heigh-Ho”. Each time I put on a tie for work, I’ll remember the Windsor knot he taught me, and every time I tell a story, I’ll hope to capture my audience with the same ease he always could.

A memory in each of us helps our pop live on.

Life is a blessing, and an inevitable part of it is death. We don’t have the option to live forever. What we have is the option to live life the way each of us want to live it.

My pop lived his life full of love, and he passed surrounded by the love that he created.

So, to my pop, we love you, and we will miss you. Thank you for teaching us right from wrong, and how to live life to the fullest perfection.

I hope one day, you can tell me one of your perfect stories as we share a perfect cup of English breakfast tea together.