This is a reading comprehension exercise for children. It is written by Susan Fineman, a reading specialist in the New Haven, Conn., school district.

It's been 25 years since Lois Bodoky's beauty shop burned down and she turned to selling hot dogs.

Bodoky, known to many in Burlington simply as "the hot dog lady," was one of the first vendors on Church Street, long before the three blocks dotted with restaurants and stores were closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall.

In those days, she and her husband would push their wood maple cart down one side of the street and up the other during lunch hour as cars streamed by.

She now commands a place in the middle of Church Street--a prime spot during holiday shopping time in December--and just below the building where she used to do hair.

She turned 77 on July 4 and plans to sell hot dogs for as long as she can. "We've had a lot of fun," she said.

On the busy brick-paved street, Bodoky stands out among nearly 20 vendors. She still favors the silver cat's-eye glasses, dotted with rhinestones, that she has worn since the 1950s. Nowadays, they're hard to find, and she orders hers from France.

She works amid a young, casually dressed crowd. But Bodoky wears her white hair pinned in curls on top of her head. Her thin eyebrows are penciled to a pronounced curve, the skin below covered in a sheen of blue and pink.

But mostly, Bodoky is known for selling hot dogs.

Neither the price nor the menu has changed much over the years. A plain hot dog sells for $1, while one topped with sauerkraut, chili and onions, or all of the above, goes for a little more.

"Lois believes in volume more than price," her husband, John, said.

The Bodokys' day starts about 9:30 a.m. at their home downtown. There, they chop onions, concoct chili and load sauerkraut, rolls and hot dogs into the aluminum cart.

Around 11 a.m., they head to Church Street, towing the cart in a trailer behind their car. During the day, John sits behind Lois in a portable chair, on call to fetch more rolls or sauerkraut as needed.


1. Lois Bodoky's beauty shop burned down 25 years ago. How did she make the best of a bad situation?

2. When Bodoky and her husband first became vendors, how did they attract customers?

3. If you wanted to buy a fast lunch from the 77-year-old woman, where would you go to find her cart?

4. Customers can easily spot "the hot dog lady" because of her unusual eyeglasses. Describe them. Where does she buy them?

5. How much does a hot dog with sauerkraut and onions cost?

6. What does John Bodoky mean by "Lois believes in volume more than price"?

7. About how long does it take the Bodokys to prepare for a day's business? How do they transport their cart?

8. Why does John stay with his wife while she sells hot dogs at the mall?

9. Why does the Burlington woman want to continue to run her business for as long as she is able?

10. Would you rather own a beauty shop or a hot dog stand? Explain.

Answer key:

1. When Lois Bodoky lost her business, she began selling hot dogs.

2. To get people to notice them, the Bodokys pushed their hot dog cart up and down the street during lunch hour.

3. The hot dog lady commands a spot in the middle of Church Street in Burlington, Vt.

4. Bodoky wears 1950s silver cat's-eye glasses that are dotted with rhinestones. She orders them from France.

5. A hot dog with sauerkraut and onions costs a little more than $1.

6. Answer will vary.

7. The vendors prepare for about 1 1/2 hours. They tow the aluminum cart downtown in a trailer.

8. Whenever Lois runs out of rolls or sauerkraut, John gets more while his wife remains with the cart.

9. Answers will vary.

10. Answers will vary.