Someone just asked me who was the 15th American President. I happened to know that Honest Abe was 16th Pres. and I just had to go one entry earlier on my "Chronological List of Presidents Memory File" to know it was James Buchanan. I could, however, also name the 6th, 17th, 22nd, 33rd, or any other number you care to name President by reciting the list I had to memorize for a 9th grade social studies class. I was a little annoyed at the assignment back then but can't tell you how many times it's come in handy since for placing various administrations in their proper historical chronology and context. Thing is, I only have them memorized up to Carter (remember I did this in 1978) and after that I'm forced to 'manually' recall who the Presidents were (by visualising them) in sequence afterwards. It's quite doofy because I can recite Washington to Carter at high speed in about 15 seconds and it takes me about that long to name the five who follow!
There are many things we learn by rote at school age: the alphabet, multiplication table, certain famous speeches or literary passages, the preamble to the Constitution, lists of prepositions, equations/formulae, etc. Some are quite useful, some less so, and yet others qualify as little more than personal oddities (e.g. I still remember my locker number and combination from 7th grade - locker #1221 and the combo was 43-45-17! Can't recall a single combination thereafter but that one was seared in by rote!) A coworker can recite the 50 states alphabetically - I can recite them too but not alphabetically. I have to visualize a map and start from one coast and work the other way spacially.
What lists, speeches, ancient phone numbers, addresses, lists of kings, or other unusual things have you committed to rote memory? Anyone capable of remarkable memory feats (e.g. remember all the dialogue they had from a play in 12th grade)?