by Mary Ann Slavcheff
In an earlier blog, I wrote about organizing items into lists using location, numbering them and attaching them to things already learned.
I often use my laundry room even though I have added other rooms over the years. When using Loci, start with one room.
The items in my laundry room are, 1. doorway, 2. litter pan, 3. window, 4. Dryer, 5. wall cabinets, 6. mops, 7. furnace, 8. washing machine, 9. hot water heater, 10 sink. Say I want to memorize a list of the southern states in the order in which they seceded. (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee.)
Here is how I will use Loci to memorize the names of the states in order of secession. You may, of course, use other images if those will work better for you.
I see Caroline Kennedy standing in the doorway of my laundry room speaking in a strong Souther accent. (South Carolina)
I see a Mississippi river boat sitting in my cat’s litter pan. (Mississippi)
I look out the window and there are flowers blooming everywhere in my back yard. I pink roses, purple lilacs and yellow dandelions. (Florida)
I look in my dryer. Ali MacGraw and Bambi are in there. (Alabama)
Next I open the wall cabinets above my dryer. George W. Bush is dressed as a confederate general and he is leading a cavalry charge. (Georgia)
Below this are my pail of mops. My Uncle Louis is holding a mop that perhaps he might use as a weapon in the war. With him is actress Anna Paquin who is also holding a mop. Louis plus Anna. (Louisiana)
I look at the furnace and there is my tax statement for last year. I must have forgotten to mail it. (Texas)
Virginia Graham swims in my washing machine. (Virginia)
On top of my water heater is an ark and a chain saw. (Arkansas)
Caroline Kennedy is now by my sink. She keeps saying “No” to let me know that she has lost her accent. (North Carolina)
Backing away from Caroline, I bump into Tennessee Ernie Ford, who is standing in a waste paper basket.(Tennessee)
An easy technique if I have ten items in the room and eleven items to memorize, is to add either a person, an animal or a wastepaper basket to the room. (Eleven states seceded, so I had to put Tennessee Ernie in the wastepaper basket.
Those states will now be easer to remember. I have given them order and numbers. I associated them in fun ways with locations I had already memorized.
Loci is an ancient method, but fun for modern scholars. See my earlier blog on Loci. For longer lists, I use more than one room. Kevin Vost has one of the best explanations of Loci in his book, “Memorize the Faith.” He has a ten commandments room, a seven deadly sins room, a seven virtues room and even a cathedral.
Readers do not have to be Catholic to use his rooms or for Vost to help them with Loci. His rooms work for memorizing anything and I often use his ten commandments room.
I like to work in multitudes of ten, so I added items to some of Vost’s other rooms when they had less than ten items.
I also have a Loci car which I copied from “O.W.” Bill Hayes’ book “Your Memory.” This last book is a 1958 edition that has been out of print for years. It is still available at online bookstores and at rare book stores. There are 20 items on the Loci car.
I also have a Woodward Avenue list that I created. Woodward is main street in Detroit and runs through several Detroit suburbs. A few of the businesses I slotted onto my Woodward Loci have gone, but I remember them where they were. There are thirty items on my Woodward Avenue List going south and twenty-six items going north.
Many people find Loci even easier to use than fun alphabets.
I shall close this column with the loci person. We will come back to this Loci person later and see how it can help us learn code and memorize even very long numbers.
Because this list is more than just Loci, when you memorize it, please use the exact words given. Don’t change toes to foot or muscle to leg. Also leave the numbers as they are. Zero does not follow nine, but this will make sense later when we learn this as master code.
- Toes, 2. knee, 3. muscle, 4. rear, 5. love handles, 6. shoulder, 7 collar, 8. face.9.pate, 0. ceiling
Your assignment is to create some Loci rooms on your own. Draw a floor plan; below that number and name each item. You may use my laundry room or any of Vost’s rooms. I will print print Hayes’ Loci car list in a future column.
Also memorize the Loci person, we will be using that as we learn other learning techniques.