Sunday, January 28, 2007

An Enigmarie, wrapped in a riddle

ONCE UPON A TIME -- on May 26, 2000, to be precise--I received a most intriguing e-mail from an "E Aguilar."* The subject line read:    


And the message:

Ahoy there Fellow!

I be the homeless one w/ a Howard Hughs' story. - Now again;
w/ out a place to lay my head in a few short days.

Hughs' attention for his generosity -apparently didn't help attract an eye for diliverance.

I'd like to generate intrest in a group living siduation like the 12 Tribes, but the possibilities are weak. Please inform as to your caution.

Thank you,

    What was I to make of this?

I replied:

Ahoy there matie! True to your e-mail address, your message was quite enigmatic. Could you explain yourself a little more? Who are you? Where are you from? Where'd you get my e-mail address? Are you associated with the Tribes? What does Howard Hughes have to do with your situation? And by the way, would you be related to one Minor Aguilar of Chicago?

This person wrote back. Marie Aguilar was the name given this time. She was of a certain age, which she wasn't eager to tell. She was from the Sarasota area. She had at least one daughter. She was somewhat of an artist (an "illistrator," as she put it), but also had experience as a personal trainer, but was hoping to find work as a doula. And she was in some sort of dire straits, the nature of which she was never at liberty to fully explain. And no, she didn't know anybody named Minor Aguilar.

But how had she obtained my e-mail, and why'd she write? Turns out she had seen an article authored by me in an online Christian newsletter. In that article I mentioned certain spiritually based intentional communities, and one of these was a quasi-Messianic-Jewish group called the Twelve Tribes. Marie had an interest in such groups, and she e-mailed me, perhaps thinking I was involved in one. She told me that she was of marrano Jewish ancestry and was searching for her Jewish roots in Messiah. Currently, she said, she worshipped with a "home fellowship" rather than a typical corporate church.

As for the homeless bit, I speculated she was fleeing some sort of abusive relationship. Since she was reticent to share many details, I didn't pry. But she was safe for the time being, she reassured me, and staying with friends. She was trying to get a deal on a mobile home for $8000.

She made quite an e-penpal. Her handle, enigmarie2000, proved apt. In subsequent emails, she continued with her quirky colors, formatting, punctuation, and colorful spelling ("inishally," "unfourtunatly," "uncertion," "perswations," "simmilor," etc.). She called e-mails "E-s." ("Guess I started looking forward to your E-s...")

Sometimes she'd sign her name:


And sometime she'd use totally off-the-wall subject lines, such as:

Massa Massa


-1 + +1=*

I'd ask her to explain these, but she never did. I figured: okay, eccentric artist type, I get it. But as poor a speller as she was, she seemed a very joyful, optimistic person in the face of all her trials, and always had something to share: a Bible verse, an inspirational poem, a bit of advice.

In one e-mail I apologized for not writing for so long because I'd been overwhelmed and struggling with various projects, and also, with a female person in my life:
The more I get to know her, the more I'm convinced we are really twins who were separated at birth. We are so alike in so many things (including favorite brand and flavor of tea) it's scary. ... Yet, we've had a little falling out over a communication problem and her mood-swing problem, which sometimes gets in the way of having a normal conversation. But I still care for her and I'm praying for her. ...

Marie wrote back:

Hi ya, _____ :) good to hear you sounding well. The girl, however much your ditto, may be a type of distraction. Use caution. Seek first His Kingdom so you have a safe Haven. I'm sure of your wittness, but as humans our biggest drawback is the glove attached to our soul. You are accepted in The Beloved & greater is He in you then he that's in the world. Keep yourself clean in His Word & approach her as a lover of the goodness & faithfullness of God before direction your affections too hastilly.

Too much to say now. I'll have to give you a couple of E- forwards to catch you up w/ me.

I love you my brother. God is working mightily in you! I look forward to the wonderful things He has in store for you
We carried on occasional correspondence for over a year. I even called her a couple of times: she had expressed interest in a marketing business I was involved in at that time, so we talked biz as well as personal and spirichal stuff.

But then her messages became scarce, and when they did come they were abrupt and created more questions than they answered. She was again homeless, she said, writing from libraries. She was on the road. With Olivia. It sounded like a dire situation. She asked me to pray that her vehicle didn't break down. Where was she headed? I asked her. Was she running from the law? She couldn't say.

Soon the emails stopped coming, and mine no longer received replies. So I said prayers for her, and life went on.

But I couldn't help but care about the well-being of this touchingly zany lady. Every now and then I'd try to Google her, plus her email addresses, trying to find any tidbit of information. Nothing came up.

After several months, on Nov. 17, 2002, she sent a message out to a list of friends, including me, with subject line:

Famous"in his words, this man used his influence to abduct Olivia Salisbury

To the message, she had attached a Google search page full of page hits concerning Enrico Wallenda. Yep, that's right, of The Flying Wallendas, of circus highwire fame.

That's when it all started to come together. She had been Mrs. Wallenda. They divorced and he got custody of Olivia. I don't know the circumstances or the justice of this decision; it does appear that Wallenda is a "famous freemason," and by many accounts, a Mason in court has a much easier time getting his way if the judge is also a "brother Mason," as many are. Whatever the case, in January of that year Marie Aguilar, or rather Edith Salisbury, her real name, had whisked the 7-year-old Olivia off on a wacky cross-country caper that culminated in San Diego.

But as part of a national law enforcement program, Olivia's face was plastered on "Missing Children" cards sent out by a direct-mail marketing company. As a result, when she and her mom were spotted at a San Diego homeless shelter in September 2002. The law was notified and soon Olivia was back home in Florida.

The latest news is that Olivia's training to be part of the next generation of the Flying Wallendas. I haven't heard from her mom lately. I hope by now she's out of prison.

[* last name changed.....]

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