Feeling really old …

Merry Christmas 2012 from my mom's house in Clarke County.
Merry Christmas 2012 from my mom’s house in Clarke County.

Practically anyone who grew up in central Iowa when I did probably remembers KIOA radio and Dic Youngs.

Back then, Youngsy played oldies for KIOA at 940 AM. I remember the music being heavy on Neil Sedaka and a lot of tunes from the 1960s — and not always the good stuff people hear when they play a 1960s soundtrack in their heads.

Today, KIOA is at 93.3 FM and it plays music I listened to in high school. This I know after hearing it with my own ears as we drove Monday through Washington, Sigourney, Oskaloosa, Knoxville and Indianola en route to my mom’s house for Christmas.

And I worried before the trip about being a Grinch. How could anyone consider a song released by the Police in 1981, when I was a 15-year-old freshman at Chariton High School, as an oldie?

Beth, my niece. She MIGHT be more addicted to her phone than I am to mine.
Beth, my niece. She MIGHT be more addicted to her phone than I am to mine.

The answer to that rhetorical question nearly slapped me the minute I stepped into my mother’s kitchen: My youngest niece.

Elizabeth Christine Thomas turned 16 on Dec. 10, and is a sophomore at Clarke Community High School.

How did that happen?

It seems like only yesterday she was born, weighing in at — get this — 14 ounces. Her parents saddled her with that middle name because her uncle was also born premature.

For years, we called her Little Bit. It seemed to me, at least, that she would always be a scrawny little girl. And here she is practically grown up. She’ll probably try to kill me if she bothers to read her weird, old uncle’s Facebook page.

But maybe not.

In addition to our early births, something else Beth and I share is writing ability. When Beth was in fourth grade, she was chosen — at least partly because of her ability to write — to attend a summer camp for girls at Wyoming, Iowa.

And she also appears to procrastinate. She was telling me she has to write a paper on how TV personality Rosie O’Donnell has impacted the world.

When Beth asked if I could cite some examples about O’Donnell, I asked: “What kind of teacher makes such a stupid assignment?”

Rosie O’Donnell? Really?

But after Beth finished laughing, she admitted she had waited too long to pick someone to write about and that O’Donnell was one of the few choices left.

All this really proves is that she is my sister’s daughter and my niece. But I still can’t believe she is 16.

It’s enough to make me feel really old. Just not as old as Neil Sedaka.