Edit: paragraph withdrawn.
At each house there is normally a ground rod or two that is electrically connected to the incoming neutral conductor. 2. True? 3. Are those ground or neutral rods? In side the first breaker box, the neutral terminal and "ground" terminal strips are connected electrically together inside the breaker box. 4. True? . We understand that is not the case in a sub-panel.
I know none of those things come as a surprise to you.
Edit: I just figured out that when you said "big difference" (even on a thread with Voltage in the subject) you meant "big distinction". Green vs white is a difference too, but in the voltage world, I see 2 volts as a difference.
And jadnashua, care two answer the first 3 questions?
The Kirchhoff's current law review -- you do have only power 1 wire coming to your neighborhood, right?
And here is an extra question if you want to respond jadnashua: 5. If there had been a proper grounding/neutralling/wtf system in place at the house, but the neutral wire on the drop was broken, would that symptom the OP saw have been observed? At least 2 flaws here IMO. Power company first. Then maybe more.