For many months after Dilys’s departure, Nell was inconsolable. Then, when painter Carolyn Harris entered her life, Nell began a long-lasting relationship. Her ongoing concern was hiring, training, and retaining aides. Many women attempted the job, with little success. It was not until the arrival of Jestina Forrester in 1976 that the turnover stopped. But Jestina’s personality and Nell’s demands made for a volatile combination. Carolyn’s own role—lover, studio assistant, cook, and sometime aide—was not an easy one. Her studio time was severely circumscribed by Nell’s needs. The two women would have many serious quarrels, which Nell tried to analyze. During these years, summer visits to the homes of friends in Vermont and upstate New York, and to a rented cottage in Gloucester, yielded many new paintings. Nell’s mother died in 1970, leaving her surprised daughter a nest egg, but her financial situation remained dire throughout the decade.
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