In April of 1946 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, seven-year-old Norbert Lusardi, whom everyone called Butch, was walking home from school one day and saw three high school boys with a mouse. The boys were being quite rough with the mouse and when Butch questioned what they intended to do with the mouse, one of the boys replied that they intended to kill it.
Butch was appalled by that answer, but realized that there was no way that he could fight the three larger boys to save the life of that mouse.
He had a better idea. Butch ran home and pulled open one of his dresser drawers. Hidden in the back was his most valued Christmas gift, a sparkling silver dollar coin. He had been saving the coin to buy something special, but saving the life of an animal seemed more important at that moment. Butch ran back and exchanged the silver coin for the mouse, whom he appropriately named Silver.
But there was one problem. Butch knew nothing about caring for a mouse, so he went to see a woman who had always been nice to him.
That was Mrs. A.B. Beverstock, who lived at 700 E. Juneau Avenue. She took one look at the little creature and informed Butch that Silver was not a mouse, but a hamster. She provided Silver some much needed food and a place to rest.
Her husband then said “I guess we’ll have to keep him for you, the housing shortage being what it is. And here’s a dollar to replace the one you spent.”
At first Butch said “Na, thank you,” but was eventually persuaded to accept the dollar and let the couple care for Silver.