Well, it took a week and a half, but I now have access to my original gmail address.
Thanks go to a very kind person in Canada, who is now the owner of the domain for the company I worked for when I set up my gmail account. They received the "request for confirmation" e-mail from Google when I asked for my password to be reset.
The amount of trouble this person went to in order to contact me and help me get my account back has restored my faith in humanity.
Now, I just have to read through all the mail I received in the last week and go through the hundreds of messages in my spam folder, to make sure none of them are false positives ... there goes the rest of my day :-).
Let this be a salutory lesson for everyone ... go right now and make sure that the secondary addresses for every account and registration you have point to an e-mail you can still access!