I had not realized it, but while pathogen is pretty awesome for managing bundles, it doesn't have any update mechanism, so you have to recurl the ~/vim/autoload/plug.vim and also do a git pull for all your ~/vim/bundles which is kind of a pain.
Maybe time to switch vim bundlers and folks like vim-plug and vundle particularly vim-plug. These handle updating an unloading of packages.
Or with Vim 8 or Newvim, you can use the native package manager. While it adds things to a magic directory, you still need to create a git submodule structure and then make sure to run git submodules updates. So better than Pathogen, but might be better to move to vim-plug.
What turned out to be happening by the way is a funny bug. I inserted --create-dir into my curl statement for getting plug.vim, but it turns out curl does not return an error when you put in a bad option, it just goes along and writes the curled file to the output. So I never picked that pathogen.vim never was loading.
Second problem is that I do have vim-plug, but unlike pathogen, it requires a manual :PlugInstall and :PlugUpgrade in vim itself to actually start working. How unintuitive is that.