First he hunted down and killed the malware. Took half the day. And it turns out that this particular virus had nothing to do with the loss of my saved emails. (Just as some of you commenters had suggested). The timing of it all was just a coincidence. Still, it's nice to have a clean machine again.
Then he was able to restore my lost emails. Well, some of them, anyway. Turns out that AOL can only restore to the last time it did an auto backup, and it only does those every four weeks. In my case the last backup was March 24. So I lost all the emails that I received from that date to this one... but I did get thousands back. (Of course, I also got back all the emails that I had responded to and deleted from March 24 until now, so now I have to find them and delete them again). Restoration took the other half of the day.
I still hate computers.
To all of you worried about my backing up my fiction. I write on a DOS machine that is physically separate from my Windows machine and has no connection to the internet. It cannot get a virus. Assuming someone was writing viruses for WordStar 4.0, which I think unlikely. It also has a built in mirrored drive, so everything I write is automatically copied to two hard drives. I back up frequently to floppy disks, less frequently to CD/ROM, every blue moon to a Zip drive. So I think I am pretty well backed up. The one vulnerability I have is that all these backups share the same physical location, so if my house burned down, I'd be screwed. I have looked into offsite backup systems, yes, but unfortunately none of them will work with DOS/ WordStar. (And no, don't ask, I'm not going to send any of you a disk for "safekeeping," I'm on to that trick).
I am going to look into new email systems. I need to do it, I know, but changing over is such a bloody pain, and I do not adapt quickly to such changes. This old dog likes his old tricks.
Anyway, bottom line -- if any of you has sent me an important email in the last three weeks, it's likely gone. If I haven't responded yet, I won't. So resend if it was important. But PLEASE, do NOT resend if the content wasn't crucial. This has left me with enough to clean up already.
Thanks for your understanding. And thanks for all the comments and suggestions in reply to my last message. A lot of good info there, and it was much appreciated.