When I first typed the prompt heading, I took out the extraneous thats. The sentence doesn't need either of them. I'm taking writing direction from a worse writer than me.
A funny question, that. (joke)
I suppose I realized my home was different every time I entered someone else's home. Different yard, door, mat, smell, sounds. I regularly visited the Thompson's house, who watched Kim and me after school when Mom went to work - homey, a bit more chaotic than mine as there were more kids and Dachsunds. I learned that I did not play Barbies correctly. I'm sure they were trying to help.
Other neighbors' homes - one had a piano in the girls' room, which I wanted to bang; another had a pool, where we got to swim on special occasions. I had to wear a Mae West, as I didn't really swim. That was the Vork's house, I think. The dad hung himself there. Charlanne, the daughter, died of anorexia a few years later. Her mom worked at the yogurt place near my college. I remember the house kitty-corner from ours, where I stepped on a bee in bare feet (my only bee sting), and the girl I played with, who drowned on a camping trip, and her dad, who drowned trying to save her. I remember (before that) seeing her fall out of a moving car, and us trying to teach her little brother to skip, as she was sure he had to know that before he could go to kindergarten. I don't remember her name.
My home seems really great by comparison, though it had its faults. Smells of cigarets and liquor. Perfume, hair spray, Toni permanents, ironed clothes. I was insulated from most of the drama, mainly by my age. These were all houses in Whittier, of course. Other friends' homes in Orange were similar in size and shape and grandness; different in smell and feel. Mom farmed me out as a babysitter, thinking it would be good for me, but I really hated going into other peoples' houses by then. I was scared; I didn't like kids; my only motive was money. A good enough reason, but I was still kind of freaked out, being alone and in charge in a stranger's house. I didn't mind sitting the Lauro boys, but they were right across the street, so I wasn't far from my own home.
This was a much darker trip than I thought it would be.