Chapter 16 Summary
The sixteenth chapter, "Wolverette," begins with Callie playing goalie for her field hockey team. Milton refuses to bus his children to Detroit and enrolls Callie in the Baker & Inglis School for Girls. Cal explains that she was an awful player and lacked coordination. In fact, Callie is the worst player on the team, though this was in part because the other girls "didn't have, as I did, two testicles squatting illegally in their inguinal canals." After the game, Callie looks at all of the other girls around her. They have begun to physically develop, and though Cal does not recall being attracted to them, she does recall their charm bracelets and her feelings of confusion from that age. She explains the elaborate strategies that she used to keep from having to change in front of others. Callie eventually does begin to grow taller. In fact, she is thrilled when she notices that she has begun to grow body hair. However, these changes also begin to change her features. Her nose develops a "satyrical" hook and her eyebrows become thicker. Her voice begins to drop, though Tessie thinks that Callie's just fighting a cold.
Callie is beginning to exhibit early signs of masculinity. The way that she would toss her eraser into the air and then catch it, the way that she would so aggressively debate her classmates, or the way that her girlfriends seemed always to lean against her all now seem like early signs of "Cal." Cal recalls how Milton, in spite of his daughter being five foot ten inches tall, would still invite her to dance. However, Callie, who had once had such "Appolonian" beauty is ashamed of the "Dionysian element [that] stole over" her features. Consequently, Callie lets her hair grow long, though Cal recalls that it seemed to get into everything, even the hairballs of the neighbor's cat. Tessie encourages Callie to cut her hair or at least pull it back into a ball, but Cal explains that "I was still growing it out. My dream was to some day live in it." To some extent, Callie's androgynous features were in fashion during the early 1970s, but as time goes on, she feels more insecure about her appearance.
Life begins to change for the family. Chapter Eleven is accepted into the University of Michigan, but he also receives notice of his eligibility for the draft. Consequently, he begins to follow the Vietnam War very closely. When Chapter Eleven's number is called, he and Callie embrace, which Cal explains is unusual for them. Though Chapter Eleven claimed that he would go to Canada if his number was called, Milton forbids it. Fortunately, the war ends before Chapter Eleven is called to fight, and he ends up going to college.