If you’re a treasure-seeker, Jamie’s Flea Market in South Amherst is the X that marks the spot.
It’s a trove of crafts, rare books, collectible toys, fresh produce, antiques — and Martha Jamie helped start it all a half-century ago.
She’s turning 100 this Monday and celebrating her long life and career with friends in four parties.
“I feel good,” Jamie told the News-Times in a recent interview at Anchor Lodge Retirement Village in Lorain, where she’s resided since 2011. Pointing to her waist, she said, “From here on up, I’m fine.”
Last year, she broke a hip. While she still often uses a wheelchair, Jamie can walk again. She said other than a single pill a day to regulate high blood pressure, she is the picture of health.
Martha was born in 1916, just a year before the end of World War I, in Rocky Ridge near Toledo, the fourth of 11 children in the Jamie clan. Four of her siblings remain.
She remembers walking a mile and a half to school each day from her parents’ farm in the country. At 100 years young, she also remembers the difficulties of the Great Depression, the rise of the Nazis, the advent of home plumbing and electricity, lighting candles on the family Christmas tree each Christmas Eve, the introduction of television, and the moon landing. Medical treatment has also progressed — Jamie recalls as a young girl in the 1930s when her Uncle Fritz had an appendectomy on the dining room table.
She married her beloved Bill Jamie in 1935 and they spent 60 years together until his death in 1995.
Bill was the muscle behind the business, first building an auction house on Rt. 113 in South Amherst in the 1960s, converting it to a flea market in 1974. Martha said her job was to handle money and keep the business’ books, and often to rein in her husband when he was excited with an idea to expand.
Jan and Stan Ingersoll purchased the flea market in 1976 and Ralph and Lolita Mock bought it in 1983; it’s stayed in the family’s hands with Martha’s granddaughter Lorna Ingersoll continuing to manage it today.
Martha’s daughter and son-in-law, Beverly and Warren Ingersoll, said Jamie’s is ranked one of the top 11 flea markets in all of Ohio.
“It makes me feel good that it’s still running,” Martha said.
Family has mostly stayed close. Beverly, who now lives in Florida, is the only one of Martha’s four daughters who does not continue to live in the South Amherst area. Martha’s family line is now 68 members strong, including 12 grandchildren.
Through the years, Martha has been an avid baker, a sharp card player, and an insatiable reader of fiction. She’s also been very active at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Amherst.
Yet one of her most interesting hobbies has been collecting antique dolls. When she decided — on her own — to move to Anchor Lodge, Martha had 200 dolls and gave many to her daughters and grandchildren.
That’s just one way her mother has shown her unconditional love, Beverly said: “You might have corrected us, but you always loved us,” she told Martha.
“And they were good daughters,” Martha responded.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Doll collector, card player, baker, mother, founder of Jamie’s Flea Market — what hasn’t Martha Jamie accomplished as she celebrates her centennial birthday?